Hassan Apologizes for Not Removing Supporter

  • Gov. Maggie Hassan speaks with the Monitor editorial board on Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Gov. Maggie Hassan speaks at a “Monitor” editorial board Thursday.

Concord Monitor
Published: 4/6/2016 12:43:27 AM
Modified: 4/6/2016 10:22:15 AM

Concord — Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan apologized Tuesday for not removing a former teacher who admitted sexual misconduct with a student from a list of public supporters during her 2012 campaign.

“I should have worked more actively to review my public supporter and steering committee list and remove him from it,” said Hassan, who now is running for U.S. Senate. “I apologize for that.”

Hassan’s husband, Tom Hassan, was head of Phillips Exeter Academy in 2011, when longtime history teacher Rick Schubart admitted to sexual misconduct with a student during the 1970s. Schubart was forced to retire and leave campus housing, but the elite prep-school said nothing publicly.

It was not until a second allegation last year that Schubart was stripped of his emeritus status and permanently banned from campus and all school events.

The school notified alumni last week that Schubart had admitted to two cases of sexual misconduct with students in the 1970s and ’80s.

Hassan said she “sensed that the teacher had done something wrong” when he abruptly left campus in 2011, but didn’t know details due to confidentiality reasons.

Her 2012 gubernatorial campaign listed Schubart as a supporter, and accepted donations from him, even after he was forced out of Phillips Exeter, where the Hassans lived until recently.

Schubart and his wife donated nearly $400 to Hassan’s various campaigns for office over the last decade. A campaign spokesman said the Democrat now will donate that sum to an “appropriate charity.”

Schubart hasn’t appeared on any of Hassan’s public supporter lists since her 2012 campaign.

Hassan, now in her second-term as governor, is mounting a challenge to U.S. Sen. Kelly Ayotte, a first-term Republican.

Hassan told reporters Tuesday that Phillips Exeter “didn’t get it quite right” as it sought to balance privacy and transparency in wake of the allegations.

The school reported the accusations, which came to light in 2011 and 2015, to authorities. But the prep school’s new principal, who took over after Tom Hassan retired in 2015, recently told the Boston Globe that Phillips Exeter’s response to the first case was “insufficient.”

Tom Hassan has apologized for not doing more.

Gov. Hassan said Tuesday that it would be “very appropriate” for a review of the school’s response.

“I am glad that the school immediately reported to the authorities when they got information,” she said. “I continue to be really grateful to the victims of sexual misconduct who came forward. It is a very brave thing to do.”

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