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Palfrey Reveals Sexual Misconduct of Five Former Faculty Members

Independent investigators hired by Andover have concluded that five cases of sexual misconduct were perpetrated by faculty members during the 1970s and 1980s, according to a letter emailed to the extended Andover community by Head of School John Palfrey on August 30.

The letter reported five faculty members had engaged in sexual misconduct with students during those decades, and it disclosed the investigative results of three of the five cases.

Palfrey’s letter stated that the investigation was conducted by the Sanghavi Law Office, a firm hired by Andover in the spring.

After following up with all concerns and reports of sexual misconduct, Sanghavi Law Office concluded that former faculty members H. Schuyler Royce and Stephen Wicks, as well as former writer-in-residence Alexander Theroux, had engaged in sexual misconduct with students at Andover. The letter named one incident each for Theroux and Wicks and multiple incidents for Royce.

Royce passed away in 1991, and Theroux and Wicks have since retired. Theroux has denied the claims.

In his letter, Palfrey wrote that “In accordance with school policy,” both Theroux and Wicks have “been barred from campus and from Andover events.”

Mr. Wicks’s emeritus status has also been revoked.

Last spring, Mr. Palfrey wrote to the community, addressing sexual misconduct at independent schools and requesting that anyone with information about misconduct report it to the school. All reported concerns about misconduct were investigated by Sanghavi Law Office.

According to its website, lawyers at Sanghavi Law Office “work with schools on issues related to compliance with civil rights laws including Title IX, disability laws, and race and national origin discrimination laws.”

In an email to The Phillipian, Palfrey explained, “The response from the alumni body to the approach we have taken has been overwhelmingly supportive.”

“The vast majority of those who have reached out to me have expressed their empathy toward those affected and their support for the process we have undertaken. In particular, the alumni who have chosen to write or call have noted the important tie between this process and our current work to ensure the health, safety, and well-being of our current and future students,” he continued.

In his letter, Palfrey expressed gratitude to those who reported sexual misconduct to the school.

“I admire the compassion and empathy displayed by those who came forward to share concerns of which they were aware,” wrote Palfrey.

“Most of all, on behalf of the Andover community, I extend my deepest apologies to all who have been affected, directly or indirectly, by these transgressions that occurred on our campus,” he continued.

Palfrey noted that there are likely still instances of sexual misconduct at Andover that have gone unreported, as well as other concerns that were raised, but the results of which were not conclusive upon investigation by Sanghavi Law Office.

“We recognize that these matters do not reflect all harms suffered by students on our campus due to misconduct by adults or by other students,” he wrote in his letter to the community.

In an email to The Phillipian, Palfrey wrote, on behalf of himself and the faculty of Andover, “We care about each and every one of you. We are focused on your well-being, as well as on your growth as students, musicians, artists, athletes, and citizens.”

He continued, “We do read the State of the Academy and we hear [students] when [they] say that sexual misconduct happens on our campus. We know that means that we have more work to do – more education to help prevent harm, more support to those affected, and an even clearer and stronger message to those who would contemplate or have harmed another member of this community.”

Palfrey explained in his community letter that, as the school year begins, Andover is “redoubling [its] commitment to making our campus a safe and supportive home for students and adults alike.”

In an email to The Phillipian, Palfrey added, “I am committed to Andover being an institution whose graduates are leaders and contributors on this issue [of sexual misconduct] on their university campuses and in the communities where they make their lives after high school.”

Stay tuned for more coverage from The Phillipian on the ongoing sexual misconduct cases.

Sep 4, 2016