St. Paul's Has Advocate For Victims, New Reporting Software

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) — St. Paul's School now has an advocate who provides confidential support to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and a new software system to keep track of campus misconduct reports, according to a compliance monitor hired to oversee the handling of sexual abuse claims at the school.

The report from Donald Sullivan was released Thursday through the New Hampshire attorney general's office, which mandated the position as part of an agreement that subjected the Concord boarding school to as much as five years of government oversight in lieu of criminal charges. The 2018 agreement followed an investigation that found credible evidence of abuse involving 20 former faculty members over several decades.

Sullivan started his job on Jan. 18. His report was completed in July.

Just like other schools, St. Paul's was affected by COVID-19 protocols that resulted in a smaller campus population and additional quarantine time, Sullivan wrote. “There is no way to tell how much the diminished on-campus time or other COVID-19 protocols affected the number of reportable incidents, but it is reasonable to assume that there was some reduction," he said.

Sullivan said, “It is clear that the school has embraced the presence of the advocate," who came on campus in February. He said the software enables anyone in the school community to initiate reports online and links can be found on the school's website and in the daily newsletter emailed to students.

Sullivan recommended that the school continue with in-depth training for faculty in the area of reporting requirements following a simple assault that happened between two students at a sporting event. He also noted that the school hired an external investigator to pursue reports from students regarding possible sexual harassment and intimidating behavior from a particular group of students.

“When the investigation concluded, any students who may have faced possible disciplinary action withdrew from the school prior to the commencement of any disciplinary proceeding," Sullivan wrote.

Sullivan replaced Jeffrey Maher, who resigned in October after accusing campus officials of thwarting his efforts. The school denied the allegations. The attorney general's office also released Maher's report, which covered January through June of 2020. It noted that students were not on campus during most of that period, during the early days of the coronavirus.