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Phillips Exeter Academy, police update sexual assault reporting guidelines

September 20. 2017 10:30AM

EXETER -- Phillips Exeter Academy must report any act of sexual assault to local police under an updated memorandum of understanding announced Wednesday between police and the school.

Officials signed the updated memorandum last week. Since last year, Phillips Exeter has wrestled with a past that included hushed-up reports of sexual assaults of teachers or other school officials against students. Last year, a former admissions officer pleaded guilty to a sexual abuse that took place in the 1970s.

More recently, a school counselor instructed a student implicated in a misdemeanor sexual assault to bake bread for the victim to make amends.

The new policy stresses that school officials cannot undertake an investigation until police have declined further investigation. And calls for the Portsmouth-based crisis center Haven to provide counseling and other support services for victims.

The agreement also establishes training for staff, which will be provided by New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.

“PEA has left no stone unturned in their effort to keep their students safe and has deferred to the appropriate experts to ensure students and faculty have every resource at their disposal,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the Coalition.

She recommended that other New Hampshire schools use the Phillips Exeter memorandum as a model.

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