Communications and Disclosures

Every time the Academy receives an allegation of sexual misconduct, we make a timely report to the Exeter Police Department regardless of the nature or source of the allegation, and regardless of the extent of supporting proof. The Academy also reports every allegation involving a minor (someone under the age of 18) to the New Hampshire Division of Children, Youth and Families.

We make these reports to comply with our reporting duties under the law and to support the well-being of survivors.

Unless and until these authorities complete their investigative work and the pursuit of any criminal charges that may result, the Academy cannot further investigate on its own, and is not in a position to make a public disclosure.

Disclosing to the community

Once the Academy learns that the Exeter Police Department has closed a case (for example, because the statute of limitations has expired, the survivor has declined to press charges or the alleged perpetrator has died), we are free to move forward with our own investigation. Depending on the nature and extent of information that is available to us, and if there is sufficient information available to us, we work to design an investigation that is as full and fair as is possible.

In almost all cases, this involves enlisting the help of external investigators. We purposefully select trained and experienced investigators whose training includes a focus on conducting trauma-informed interviews. Once the Academy’s own investigation is concluded, we use the guidelines presented in the Criteria for Disclosure to determine if public disclosure will be made. Due to a variety of factors, many beyond our control, substantial time can pass between our initial report to the Exeter Police Department and a community disclosure.

Importantly, where a public disclosure is to be made, the disclosure will be made in such a way as to avoid, to the greatest extent possible, inflicting additional harm on survivors, alumni and others.

Criteria for disclosure

Principles of disclosure were developed originally during a meeting of the Trustees of Phillips Exeter Academy held on Friday, October 28, 2016, and with the consultation and advice of legal counsel, including General Counsel Holly Barcroft and David Vicinanzo and Tina Sciocchetti from Nixon Peabody LLP.

In early 2021, the Trustees began to discuss updating the principles of disclosure. An updated draft was presented and discussed at the May 2021 Trustee meeting. Updated criteria for disclosure were approved by the Trustees on July 6, 2021, and will be used in deciding whether to make a public disclosure of sexual misconduct to the Academy community.

Community updates

Letter to the Exeter Community, Jan. 13, 2023

Letter to the Exeter Community, Feb. 15, 2021

Letter to the Exeter Community; August 24, 2020

Letter to the Exeter Community; August 24, 2018

Holland & Knight Report; August 2018

Nixon Peabody Report; August 2018

Supplemental Information; August 24, 2018

Letter from Lisa MacFarlane about former faculty member; Jan. 6, 2018

Update on Release of Rockingham County Attorney’s Phillips Exeter-related Files; Dec. 11, 2017

Letter to Rockingham County Attorney; Dec. 10, 2017

Update on Holland and Knight Investigation; Oct. 25, 2017

Joint Statement and Memorandum of Understanding between EPD/PEA and between Haven/PEA; Sept. 15, 2017

Letter to the Exeter community; March 2, 2017

Letter from President of the Trustees Nicie Panetta and Principal MacFarlane; July 19, 2016

Response to May 8, 2016 Boston Globe article

Letter to the Exeter community; April 16, 2016

Letter to the Exeter community; April 13, 2016

Letter to the Exeter community; March 30, 2016

Principles of Disclosure; October 28, 2016