A former admissions officer at a prestigious New Hampshire boarding school turned himself into police Friday on charges he sexually abused a prospective student at the academy in 1973, according to a statement from the department.
Arthur Peekel, now of Palatine, Illinois, was reportedly charged with two misdemeanor counts of sexual assault for allegedly assaulting a boy who was doing an overnight stay at Phillips Exeter Academy as a prospective student. A Boston Globe report notes that Peekel “quietly left the New Hampshire prep school” after he was accused by the student.
Police told the newspaper that Peekel recently spoke on the phone with the victim in a conversation surreptitiously recorded by police, noting he apologized to the man, but not for any explicit wrongdoing.
The normal statue of limitations did not apply, as Peekel had moved out of state shortly after the abuse occured.
Peekel was released on $25,000 personal recognizance bail, on the conditions he’d surrender his passport, sign a waiver of extradition, and have no contact with minors. He’s due back in court on July 5.
“We salute the bravery of the victim in coming forward to report this incident to us, allowing us to bring this case forward.” Exeter Police Chief William Shupe said in the statement. "We are grateful to those who have had the courage to come forward and we remain thankful for the support of the public as we conduct these investigations."
The statement notes that the school provided "a number of complaints of alleged misconduct" over to investigators on April 4.
"These individual complaints ranged from third person reports with unknown victims to allegations against named faculty having inappropriate relationships with students," the statement reads. "Since that time, additional reports have been made to either Phillips Exeter Academy and turned over to the Exeter Police Department or directly to the police department. At this time, numerous cases have been closed by the Exeter Criminal Investigation Division for various reasons, including unfounded rumors and cases where the alleged victims are choosing not to come forward at this time. The closed cases involve alleged events that range from the 1960s to 2014, and not all of the cases involve employees of the school."
Other cases remain open, and investigations are ongoing in those cases, Shupe said. Anyone with more information about possible misconduct or abuse is urged to call Exeter Police Captain Michael Munck at (603) 773-6144 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another teacher was barred from the campus earlier this year after admitting to two cases of sexual abuse in the 1970s and 1980s.