One teacher named in sexual assault case

teacherverification June 7, 2013 0

by: Aaron Sanborn


Social studies teacher Robert Batchelder is the Exeter High School educator placed on paid administrative leave in April after a student complained he had sexually assaulted her in 2009.

Nonpublic minutes from the Exeter Region Cooperative School Board’s June 4 meeting confirm Batchelder’s identity. Batchelder resigned from his position with the district on May 24, according to the minutes.

While Superintendent Michael Morgan declined to confirm Batchelder’s identity, he previously stated that the teacher who resigned on May 24 was the teacher who was placed on leave in April.

The nonpublic minutes do not go into detail about the police or district’s investigation into Batchelder. On Wednesday, Morgan placed two additional teachers on leave relating to the Batchelder investigation. One of those teachers resigned hours later.

The minutes don’t name the two additional teachers, who authorities say are male. “(Morgan) explained that he could not discuss the specifics with the Board at this time,” the minutes state.

Morgan revealed in a memo to the district on Thursday that an “original screenplay” was discovered as part of the district’s investigation and that the screenplay “may be viewed by some as controversial.”

The current investigation started with a complaint made to school officials against Batchelder on April 18. Batchelder was accused of sexual assault against a female student in 2009, a matter that was also forwarded to police.

Police Chief Richard Kane confirmed that the screenplay was part of the police investigation, but wouldn’t comment on its contents or say if it was authored by one of the teachers or if it referenced any EHS students.

Police have said they are investigating all three teachers and the investigation still centers around the one complaint. At this point, the police investigation does not go beyond the three teachers, but police say they are asking any other potential victims to come forward

“We’re still actively investigating this case,” Kane said. Batchelder could not be reached for comment on Thursday. Morgan said Batchelder had been with the school since the 1998-1999 school year.Morgan declined to comment when asked if Batchelder had any previous issues with the district.

“His personnel record is confidential,” Morgan said.

Seacoast Media Group reported in 2010 that Batchelder was written up by former principal Victor Sokul for letting two girls into a winter semi-formal dance after they were locked out for being late.

At the time, the school’s policy was not to let students into a dance once doors were closed. Morgan declined to name the other teacher who resigned and the teacher put on paid administrative leave.

“As with any investigation, the more we look into it, the more pieces of the puzzle come together,” he said. The New Hampshire Department of Education is also investigating this case, which is protocol, according to Morgan.

“The safety and security of our students is always a top priority and I can assure you that our school community members are safe,” Morgan told the district in his memo on Thursday.

This article was written by Aaron Sanborn   and originally published on seacoastonline

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