Two graduates have filed a lawsuit against St. Paul’s School, a boarding school in Concord, NH, claiming school officials didn’t do anything to stop the sexual abuse by faculty.
The lawsuit alleges that Gerry E. Studds, a former United States representative from Massachusetts who taught at the boarding school, displayed inappropriate conduct with the students. The complaint also accused four other educators of sexual misconduct.
“St. Paul’s was a haven for sexual predators, and the school was negligent in failing to prevent the sexual abuse of its students,” the lawsuit stated.
Keith Mithoefer, one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit, talked about an alleged incident with Mr. Studds that occurred in the late 1960s. Mithoeffer said he went out to dinner with the teacher one night and he pulled over on the way home, offered him a cigarette, placed his hand between his legs and suggested that he perform a sex act. He said he was shocked by the proposition and asked to be taken home.
Mithoefer said that he thought of Mr. Studds as a hero at one point and didn’t tell anyone about the incident back then. He said he thought he did something wrong.
In the lawsuit, Mithoefer also claimed he experienced inappropriate conversations or touching by three other faculty members at the school. He said that a member of the administration knew about some of the misconduct, but told him that he would only receive his diploma if he kept quiet about everything.
Mithoefer said in an interview that he only started to think about what happened to him in the last few years.
“I hope that old men will stand aside the young people and say, no, we’re not going to be quiet,” he said. “Let’s not keep denying it and pretending that nothing ever happens.”
George Chester Irons, another plaintiff in the lawsuit, alleged that he and other students were taken to New York City in the 1970s by Coolidge Mead Chapin, an administrator at the school, who forced them to have sex with prostitutes as he yelled commands.
Archibald Cox Jr., the president of the board of trustees, apologized for the lawsuit’s claims.
“Their stories are terrible,” he said of the plaintiffs. “We are truly sorry for the pain they experienced and for any failure of the school to protect them.”
The plaintiffs are seeking enhanced compensatory damages.
If you find yourself in need of a sexual abuse attorney in Washington, D.C., contact Cohen & Cohen.