Former Phillips Exeter Academy Employee Charged With Sexual Assault On Prospective Student

May 13, 2016

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Exeter Police have charged a former employee of Phillips Exeter Academy with two counts of sexual assault.

Authorities say Arthur Peekel turned himself into authorities today.

Investigators say he sexually assaulted a prospective student sometime in late 1973. According to an investigation by the Boston Globe, the victim said Peekel, who worked as an admissions officer at the elite prep school, told the then-14 year old to sleep in a cot next to his bed and then fondled him. 

The Globe investigation says the two spoke in a phone conversation recorded by police in North Carolina. Authorities say Peekel apologized for his actions, though he denied any wrongdoing to the paper. 

Exeter police say the statute of limitations has expired in several investigations related to misconduct at Phillips Exeter Academy. But in this case, the statute was suspended when Peekel moved out of state after resigning his position at the school. 

Peekel is scheduled to be arraigned in July on the charges, which are misdemeanors.

This is the third case of sexual misconduct involving Phillips Exeter faculty or employees to surface this year. The school fired teacher Steve Lewis in April after he admitted having sexual encounters with a student several decades ago. History teacher Rick Schubart, who admitted to two instances of sexual misconduct with students, resigned in 2011, though he kept his emeritus status and was not banned from campus until 2015. 

Seacoast Online reports principal Lisa MacFarlane sent a letter to parents and alumni on Sunday, saying that the school was "shocked and angered" by the allegations and had turned the information about Peekel to Exeter police.