Phillips Exeter

Shame! Elite prep school Phillips Exeter abuses student for years

An 11-month internal investigation revealed that sexual misconduct occurred at Phillips Exeter Academy from 1966 to the 1980s.

Five former staffers at the Exeter, New Hampshire, prep school were identified in Thursday’s report.  The Academy announced the allegations are against physiologist Eldeff Schwaab and teachers Donald Foster, George Mangan, Henry Ploegstra, and Lane Bateman. Ploegstra and Foster are the only two alive, according to NH1.

“We have grieved as we learned that former students were harmed by some of the very people who were charged with the responsibility of keeping them safe,” trustee president Nicie Panetta and principal Lisa McFarlane said in Thursday’s statement.

Bateman, who died in 2013, was fired from the academy in 1992 after being arrested on child pornography charges. During the trial, reports emerged that the drama teacher secretly videotaped students while in their dorm rooms and bathrooms. Bateman served five years in federal prison. Phillips Exeter now says he sexually abused a student in the 1980s, according to WMUR.

The Boston Globe reported that law firm Holland & Knight investigated the claims. The firm looked into how they handled Rick Schubart, former chair of the Phillips Exeter’s history department. Schubart retired in 2011 after sexual misconduct allegations, which the school never disclosed, came to light. The former chair lost his emeritus status and was banned from campus in 2015—when another claim was made.

Ploegstra, who taught English at the academy from 1962 to 1980, denied he was inappropriate with three students during his career. The 82-year-old is also banned from the campus.

Exeter police announced they closed a case against Foster, who taught anthropology from 1973 to 2011. Phillips Exeter officials alleged he partook in inappropriate sexual behavior with two students, once in the early 1980s and again several years later. On Thursday, Foster lost his faculty emeritus status and was barred from going on campus.

Authorities said the alleged victims do not wish to press charges against Foster and Ploegstra.

“We do not tolerate any conduct that results in the harm of students,” Lisa MacFarlane commented in the statement.

[Feature Image: Tony Wesbter/ Flickr Creative Commons]