Exeter Police are investigating several reports of alleged sexual misconduct at Phillips Exeter Academy, but in the latest case, it turns out the alleged perpetrator could still face criminal charges 43 years after alleged abuse.
The alleged victim, Lawrence Jenkens now lives in North Carolina and spoke with NECN via skype Monday,
"As this was happening to me, all I could think of was, you know, this man is going to kill me," Jenkens said.
Jenkens graduated from PEA in 1977. He says in 1973 when he visited the academy as a 14-year-old prospective student, former admissions officer Arthur Peekel molested him.
"It was dark, he reached under the covers and he fondled me," Jenkens explained.
Jenkens says the next day, he and his parents told the principal what happened. He says police were never involved and Peekel resigned in 1974 and then moved out of the state.
"He took something from me very casually, and yet for me, it was a life changing experience and his life didn't change," Jenkens said.
Jenkens said he contacted school administrators again in the 90s and nothing came of it. After other PEA sex abuse allegations came to light earlier this year, he says he was compelled to tell his story again. So he posted it on Facebook in March. This time, Academy officials reported it to Exeter Police, who confirm there is an ongoing investigation.
School administrators declined an interview Monday, referring us to a letter on their website. It says in part, "We are deeply indebted to the survivors who have stepped forward, and we hope their courage will embolden others to do the same...We are all shocked and angered by the experience described by Mr. Jenkens."
When asked whether he thought the school was at fault, Jenkens replied, "Exeter failed me and it failed itself by not dealing with this in an open way."
Because Peekel left New Hampshire in 1974, the clock on the state's statute of limitations never started.
"That statute does not run during any period of time where the perpetrator, the defendant, is absent from the state," explained attorney Peter Hutchins who does not represent Jenkens. "There is, from what I can see, a clear path to a criminal prosecution."
Peekel could face criminal charges 43 years after the alleged abuse.