By Kimberly Morin
Yesterday a new political poll was released by the NH Journal and Inside Sources for the 2016 election. One of the questions surveyed specifically asked about Maggie Hassan and her husband, Tom Hassan’s, sex scandal cover up related to Phillip’s Exeter.
In case you were unaware, a woman came forward claiming she had an inappropriate relationship with a member of the faculty at Phillips Exeter when she was a teenager. It’s unclear why it’s called a “sex scandal” and not sex abuse since the man clearly held power over the young woman. That man’s name is Rick Schubart.
The allegations came out in 2011 and apparently they led to the forced retirement of Schubart from Phillips Exeter the same year. What is disturbing is not only how Phillips Exeter treated this case but specifically Hassan’s husband. From the Boston Globe:
Schubart, who served as executive director of the boarding school group in the 1990s, worked for nearly 40 years at Phillips Exeter, holding leadership positions. In 2011, Phillips Exeter officials said Schubart had resigned for health and personal reasons and permitted him to continue advising student groups and receive recognition for his contributions to education. Schubart did not return calls seeking comment on Friday.
Phillips Exeter knew this man had allegations brought up against him yet still allowed him to interact with other students on the campus? Furthermore, they kept these sex abuse allegations quiet because they thought they could get away with it. Why else would they keep the man on campus until an investigation was completed?
Maggie Hassan likes to claim she had no idea yet that doesn’t seem possible. From the Boston Globe:
Maggie Hassan was living on campus with her husband in 2011 when the school reported Schubart’s misconduct to authorities and forced him to resign.
In 2012, when she ran for governor, Hassan listed Schubart as a member of her campaign’s Rockingham County Steering Committee. He has also been a regular contributor to Hassan’s campaigns.
Not only did Hassan live on campus when the allegations finally came to light but no one will believe her husband didn’t tell her Schubart shouldn’t be named to her steering committee because of them. It seems, again, they thought they’d get away with the cover up and no one would know otherwise.
The only reason any of this ever came to light in the public was because it was reported on by the media. Tom Hassan didn’t even tell the Association of Boarding Schools board, of which he was a member, not to give Schubart an award in 2012. He was censured as a result. From the Union Leader:
Susan A. Nelson, board chair of the Association of Boarding Schools, said the organization censured Tom Hassan for not informing the organization of Schubart’s forced retirement and the allegations against him before Schubart received the Ruzicka Compass Premier Leadership Award for 2012, which the association vacated this week upon learning of the allegations.
Although Hassan did not join the association’s board himself until July 1, 2012 and had no role in nominating Schubart, Hassan was a board member for five months before the award was actually presented and did not advise anyone of the situation.
During all of this, Tom Hassan actually received a significant pay raise despite his egregious behavior. From Free Beacon:
New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan’s husband received a $30,000 salary increase the year after his administration failed to inform the public about a sex scandal involving a teacher.
Former Phillips Exeter Academy principal Tom Hassan saw his salary rise about 10 percent, from $332,309 to $361,922, between the 2011 and 2012 school year, according to federal filings.
What’s even more disturbing is Phillips Exeter is a founding school of the Study Year Abroad program. Tom Hassan is now a leader of this program as of June 2016. How does a school put a leader into place who covered up at least one incident of sexual abuse on their campus? From Yahoo News:
Hassan Named President Of School Year Abroad
Thomas E. Hassan, former Principal of Phillips Exeter Academy (Exeter) in New Hampshire, will become the next President of School Year Abroad beginning in June, 2016
Now circle back around to the question surveyed of voters in New Hampshire about Maggie Hassan and her appointment of Schubart on her steering committee. From NHJournal/InsideSources:
Q3: Hassan Teacher Message Test Maggie Hassan’s husband once served as a school headmaster. A teacher at his school engaged in sexual misconduct, and Hassan’s husband admitted to an inadequate response. The teacher was forced to resign, but Hassan invited this teacher to take a leadership role in her campaign. Does hearing this make you more likely or less likely to support Hassan’s campaign for U.S. Senate?
And the results to the survey:
More likely 14.1
Less likely 52.4
No difference 32.4
Not sure 0.9
And more sexual abuse stories are coming out of Phillips Exeter. Another from many years ago and most recently a case in which a student finally complained about another student sexually assaulting her and the lack of protection or action on Phillips Exeter’s behalf for her.
How many more stories exist like these? How many more have been covered up by Phillips and specifically Tom Hassan while he was headmaster?
Maggie Hassan can “play stupid” all she wants. No husband would harm his wife’s political career by intentionally neglecting to tell her important information about one of her steering committee members. No respectable person would continue to cover up the horrific behavior or any teacher on a campus, unless they had something to gain. This appears to be another case of Democrats believing they can simply cover horrifying behavior up and no one will ever know better.
It seems at least some New Hampshire voters find Tom Hassan’s behavior unacceptable and Maggie Hassan’s story of ignorance unbelievable.