There has been much in the press lately regarding allegations of sexual abuse of students by faculty at New Hampshire prep schools and boarding schools, notably Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, NH. These cases have been and are being investigated by law enforcement. Much criticism has been leveled at prior administrations of the school. The question arises, does a victim of sexual assault at a boarding school, abuse which may have occurred many years ago, have a civil right or remedy to compensation for their injuries and emotional trauma. The answer is yes. In bringing legal action against the schools and their administration, there are several legal theories at the disposal of the victim. First, it can be alleged that the administration and other employees of the school knew or should have known that the perpetrator was engaged or likely to engage in the sexual abuse of minors. Second, schools have a fiduciary duty under New Hampshire law to their minor students, requiring these schools to have in place a clear, understandable and enforceable sexual misconduct policy. Third, a victim may argue that a school is vicariously or automatically liable for the wrongful conduct of its employees. These cases are complicated, however, and often require researching and investigating years of conduct and practices by the perpetrator and the school as an entity – quite similar to the Catholic Church abuse cases prevalent in New Hampshire a decade ago. We at the Law Offices of Peter E. Hutchins focus a large portion of our injury practice on precisely these types of cases, and would be happy to discuss your claims with you to explore the potential of instituting a civil claim for compensation.
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