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CONCORD, NH: Names of heads of school implicated in cover-ups to be removed from St. Paul's School buildings

CONCORD, NH: Names of heads of school implicated in cover-ups to be removed from St. Paul's School buildings

By John Chilton
Oct. 2, 2019

The prestigious St. Paul's School -- Concord, New Hampshire -- confronts its past. The Concord Monitor reports:

The performing arts and hockey centers at St. Paul's School will no longer be named for two of the institution's former leaders who are accused of ignoring reports of sexual misconduct and student rape while at the helm.

Former rector Bill Matthews's name will be stripped from the Concord prep school's hockey center and Bill Oates's name will be removed from the performing arts venue, according to a letter sent Saturday to the school community from Archibald Cox Jr., the president of St. Paul's board of trustees. Matthews was St. Paul's rector from 2005 to 2011 and Oates preceded him decades earlier, serving from 1970 to 1982.

Late last year, St. Paul's agreed to operate under government oversight for the next three to five years. The attorney general's office found evidence to support child endangerment charges against the school after a 14-month-long investigation but chose not to prosecute. Rather, both sides reached a settlement agreement that legal experts say will hold the school accountable and facilitate long-term change.

Since February, an independent compliance overseer, who answers to the state attorney general, has been on school grounds.

In his letter to the school community Cox wrote:

For many people, the removal of these names might feel like a betrayal of friendship or disrespect for service and leadership. At the same time, these sentiments cannot stand in the way of our greater obligation to uphold the values of our School. As compelling as these personal feelings can be, there is no alternative context for the trustees, in our fiduciary duties to the present and future school, as well as to the past, in which we can examine the instances of the Rectors' failures to protect and safeguard children.

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