Ex-Employee of Elite Prep School Charged With Sexual Assault

Arthur Peekel turned himself into Exeter police on two misdemeanor sexual assault counts

The former admissions officer of Phillips Exeter Academy has been charged with sexual assault in connection to an incident that allegedly occurred in the 1970s.

Arthur Peekel, now 74 and living in Illinois, is the latest official from the elite prep school in Exeter, New Hampshire, to be accused of abuse.

On Monday, a North Carolina man said Peekel abused him at the age of 14 when he visited the school as a prospective student and was allegedly molested — charges he and his parents brought to the principal, he said.

"As this was happening to me, all I could think of was, you know, this man is going to kill me," Lawrence Jenkens told necn in a Skype interview.

Jenkens went on to graduate from the school in 1977; Peekel resigned in 1974, a year after the incident allegedly took place.

Peekel turned himself in to Exeter police on Friday, the department confirmed. He has been arrested and charged with two counts of misdemeanor sexual assault dating back to November and December of 1973.

It was not immediately clear if Peekel had an attorney. He was released on $25,000 personal recognizance bail.

The conditions of his release require him to turn over his passport and sign an extradition waiver. He is also not permitted to have contact with minors.

"The Exeter Police Department takes any allegations concerning the sexual abuse of children very seriously, and we want to assure the community that we are conducting a complete and impartial investigation into each claim," Chief William Shupe said in a statement.

Police have received multiple allegations of abuse since Phillips Exeter acknowledged a teacher was forced into retirement five years ago over two incidents dating back decades. The school has hired a law firm to investigate.

"We are deeply indebted to the survivors who have stepped forward, and we hope their courage will embolden others to do the same," the school wrote in a letter posted on its website, which administrators directed necn to when asked about Jenkens' allegations. "We are all shocked and angered by the experience described by Mr. Jenkens."

Peekel went on to teach in Illinois, where he was named Teacher of the Year in 1992. He retired from Rolling Meadows High School in 2004. School officials said no allegations have been made against him during his tenure there.

Necn's Katherine Underwood and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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