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Manchester school board OKs $1.5m to settle rape case

By PAUL FEELY
New Hampshire Union Leader

May 14. 2018 10:31PM




BRYAN WILSON

MANCHESTER — School board members voted Monday night to approve the use of $1.5 million in excess revenue from the Manchester school district to cover the cost of a legal settlement with the victim of a 2015 rape at Manchester High School West.

The vote — which came on a motion by Ward 9 school board member Art Beaudry — was the latest, and likely final, vote in a series of motions made over the last two months by city officials regarding the settlement.

Beaudry’s motion authorized the use of $1.5 million in excess revenue from the Manchester school district to cover the cost of a legal settlement stemming from an incident on Sept. 30, 2015, at West High School, contingent upon all court approvals.

Last week, city aldermen approved a resolution authorizing the use of excess revenues from the city school district’s fiscal year 2018 budget revenue estimates to cover a supplemental appropriation of $1.5 million to the school district, following a sparsely attended public hearing on the issue.

The lone dissenting vote was cast by Alderman at-large Joseph Kelly Levasseur.

The money was approved in response to a request from the school board after votes taken April 9, when committee members moved around money to fund an unspecified legal settlement.

The board voted to use $200,000 of the district’s anticipated surplus to fund a portion of a legal settlement, with the remainder of the $1.5 million funded by using money set aside for a $1.3 million debt service payment due in June.

Payouts on claims against the city or school district are funded by taxpayers because both city government and schools are self-insured.

No lawsuit was ever officially filed against the school district regarding the rape.David Gottesman, the lawyer representing the victim, filed a notice of claim with the city months ago, a step required by state law before a local government can be sued.

City officials have been prevented from publicly discussing details of the settlement until the deal received the final OK from the school board. School board members offered no comment on the matter following Monday’s vote.

Last June, Hillsborough County Attorney Dennis Hogan announced that West High student Bryan Wilson, who was 17 at the time of the rape, had been certified as an adult and convicted by a jury. The victim was 14 at the time of the attack.

Prosecutors at the time said school officials were aware the hallway at West was frequented by students looking to skip classes or smoke cigarettes and marijuana.

pfeely@unionleader.com


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