Though it made the local papers in New Hampshire, news of a sexual-hazing scandal at the prep school attended by Sen. John Kerry was not covered in any of the nation’s major media.
The Concord Monitor and New Hampshire’s largest daily, the Union Leader of Manchester, first reported the incident, in which Episcopal Bishop Craig Anderson, rector of St. Paul’s in Concord, N.H., contacted the Concord Police Department this month and suspended 15 senior girls for sexual misbehavior in hazing freshmen girls.
The Associated Press reported this news five times, from Sept. 19 to Sept. 24 – and over its national wire – but national media outlets chose not to cover the story.
The Concord Monitor reported:
“Five senior girls at St. Paul’s School were suspended for a term and 10 others were suspended for two weeks after hazing 12 new students in two dormitories, according to an employee of St. Paul’s who asked not to be named.
“The seniors woke the new girls up in the middle of the night, forcing them to simulate oral sex with bananas and answer sexually explicit questions, the employee said.
“In an e-mail to parents yesterday, Bishop Craig Anderson said the students’ punishment fit the school’s zero-tolerance policy toward hazing.
“‘Because there were gradations between the two houses involved, the punishments differed to reflect these gradations,’ the rector wrote. The school would not explicitly confirm it had suspended the 15 students, but it announced the punishments in chapel. …
“‘These kids were wonderful kids who made a mistake here,’ Dean of Students Doug Dickson said. ‘No one was hurt. We think we’re handling this situation in a sensitive way to protect these kids.’
“None of the parents of the five girls who were suspended for a term wanted to talk about the incident.
“Seniors arrived at St. Paul’s on Sept. 9, and new students arrived the next day. The hazing occurred at some point over the weekend, before the other students arrived. St. Paul’s started classes on Monday, Sept. 13.
“St. Paul’s reported the hazing to the Concord Police Department last week in accordance with state law, and the police are investigating. Hazing has been considered a crime in New Hampshire since 1993.”
Internet columnist David Virtue, who specializes in covering the Episcopal Church, reported from Concord:
“Parents of a teenager who sent their daughter to St. Paul’s, an elite Episcopal prep school, said they were not surprised at recent hazing story revelations.
“‘Our daughter went to this school for a year and a half in the early ’90s and we were oblivious to the environment into which we sent her. A counselor on her hall told us that there had been seven suicide attempts during her sophomore year there.’
“‘We were shocked at what our daughter encountered at St. Paul’s. You name it – the kids were trying it, and there was little or no supervision of the coed dorms. The Episcopal chaplain was a lesbian who was very interested in ‘sharing the pain’ of the students. When we finally became enlightened about what was going on, we answered a distress call from our daughter and got her out of there.’
“The parents, who asked not be named, said it took her a good while [for her] to recover from the stresses to which she had been subjected there.
“‘Thanks be to God she did. My wife and I both attended single-sex Episcopal boarding schools in the early ’60s when they really were Christian environments with godly leadership, Bible study as part of the curriculum; prayer and hymns every day – not perfect by any means, but very safe and a monitored situation for the students. All that has disappeared.’
“‘I am not in any way shocked to hear about this incident. I am only surprised it has taken this long for something public to come out. That school and most of these high-pressured, no-supervision boarding schools are truly toxic environments for the students.’
“‘It sounded like the Abu Ghraib of independent schools,’ said a former St. Paul’s faculty member to Kathryn Marchocki, a reporter with the Union Leader staff.”
The Wall Street Journal has reported that Anderson, as rector of St. Paul’s, is paid $524,000 in salary, benefits and deferred compensation – plus a seven-bedroom 14,000 square foot mansion – plus $32,000 for his wife to assist in official duties.
This half-a-million dollar compensation to a clergyman who heads a nonprofit church school is paid by order of the Saint Paul’s School trustees – one of whom was Teresa Heinz Kerry.
St. Paul’s School was the site of a press conference during last winter’s presidential primary by Ohio congressman and Democratic presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich – who advocated marriage licenses for all sexual orientations.