Police reports: Phillips Exeter faculty member reported sexual misconduct claims against Schubart
EXETER — The investigation into sexual misconduct allegations against former Phillips Exeter Academy history teacher Rick Schubart began in 2011 after an alumna who had become a faculty member reported that a female student in the 1970s told her she had sex with Schubart, according to a police report.
Documents obtained by the New Hampshire Union Leader detail allegations made by two former students, Schubart’s admission that he had sexual encounters with the girls decades ago and demands from one victim who sought financial compensation for the emotional toll she suffered and “evidence” that PEA would not tolerate sexual exploitation of its students.
Schubart was never charged criminally, but was forced to resign in 2011 and has since been barred from campus after admitting to sexual misconduct involving the two former students.
Then-principal Tom Hassan, husband of Gov. Maggie Hassan, has faced criticism for his handling of the cases. Last week, the governor apologized for keeping Schubart on her public supporter and donor list during her 2012 campaign.
Since making the Schubart case public to alumni in late March, the investigation at the prep school has expanded after new allegations against a current faculty member and another former faculty member were made by former students, police have said.
The Schubart documents released by police Monday in response to a Right-to-Know request raise questions about what staffers at the prestigious prep school might have known about the allegations before they were reported to PEA officials and police.
On Nov. 16, 2011, police said they met with Dan Morrissey, dean of students, and Ron Kim, dean of faculty, to take a report of possible sexual abuse that occurred in the mid-1970s.
During a police interview, Morrissey told Detective Ryan Veno that the school held a staff meeting in the wake of national headlines involving sexual assault allegations by faculty at Penn State University, the report says.
A day after that meeting, a faculty member who had been a student told then-principal Tom Hassan about an incident she remembered from her days as a student, according to the documents.
The faculty member, whose name was redacted from the police report, told Hassan that while she was a senior in the 1970s, another female student told about how she had sex with Schubart, the documents state.
Kim told police that he later spoke by phone to the alumna, who reported that she had a “consensual relationship” with Schubart during her senior year in 1977 and that she was 18 years old at the time, according to the documents.
“Ron Kim further reported that PEA spoke with Schubart about the incident and he confirmed the relationship. Schubart stated that he had no other relationships with students,” the police report said.
Forced to resign
Six days after detectives were on campus investigating claims against Schubart, Hassan sent a letter to the school community “with the goal of encouraging anyone to report misconduct.” But the letter does not name Schubart or give any details about an ongoing sexual assault investigation.
Schubart was forced to resign about a month later, though he retained his emeritus status and was not banned from the school entirely until last year, when a second former student came forward.
The faculty member who first informed the school of the claim against Schubart told police in a follow-up interview that it didn’t occur to her and others to tell an adult or teacher about the allegations in the 1970s.
She said that when she was hired as a faculty member in 1997 “she thought about the information” as Schubart was now a colleague, the report said. However, she told police that there was no evidence and “did not mention it to anyone until now.”
Before 2011, police reported no allegations against Schubart. The statute of limitations had expired by 2011 and police recommended that the case be closed.
A second complaint against Schubart, involving another former student, was made in early 2015.
That case came to light when the victim’s attorney, Alan L. Cantor of the Boston law firm Swartz & Swartz, sent a letter to Hassan dated Jan. 26, 2015, detailing new claims against Schubart.
In the letter, Cantor said Schubart was the victim’s dorm parent and faculty advisor during her senior year.
“He utilized this position of trust as a means to sexually abuse her,” the letter said.
The victim graduated in the early 1980s and the “majority of the abuse” occurred when she was 17, the letter said.
Cantor wrote that the abuse occurred in Amen Dormitory, including “the hall, his apartment, the smoking room and a basement room.”
The letter also said that “members of the staff at Exeter were aware of the abuse.”
Cantor didn’t elaborate as to when staff might have become aware.
According to a police report dated Feb. 5, 2015, Dean of Faculty Kim told police he had an hour-long conversation with Schubart about the allegations made by the second former student.
“Dr. Kim reported that Schubart admitted to having a consensual sexual intimate encounter with (the former student) in the basement of PEA’s Amen Hall. Schubart stated that there was no sexual intercourse which is consistent with (the letter from her attorney),” the police report said.
Schubart couldn’t recall when the encounter had occurred or how old the girl was at the time.
Schubart added that there was a "second similar encounter" when she was a student in college, the report said.
The statute of limitations to bring charges in the case has expired.
In his letter to Hassan, attorney Cantor wrote that his client had “recently discovered that the abuse perpetrated by Dr. Schubart was a substantial factor in causing the severe and long-lasting problems she has had in numerous aspects of her life.”
Cantor said the client has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, has difficulty trusting people, rarely puts her children in care of other adults and “has been vulnerable to intimate relationships with exploitative partners.”
She has also received extensive therapy and suffered a financial loss.
“Now that she had discovered the harm caused by the actions of Dr. Schubart (she) has summoned the courage to pursue this claim. She asks both for financial compensation and for evidence that Phillips Exeter Academy will not tolerate sexual abuse and exploitation of its students,” Cantor wrote in the letter.
Contacted Monday, Cantor did not immediately comment on the case.