Phillips Exeter student made to bake bread as ‘penance’ after alleged sex misconduct

The Academy Building from the Academic Quad at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire.
The Academy Building from the Academic Quad at Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire. –Wikimedia Commons

A school minister at Phillips Exeter Academy asked a male student who had been accused of sexual misconduct to bake bread for his alleged victim as an “act of penance,” The Boston Globe reports.

The odd arrangement, reported by the Globe‘s Spotlight team, comes amid a closer examination of how New England’s elite boarding schools have handled sexual misconduct on campus. In May, the Globe reported that an award-winning teacher and administrator at Phillips Exeter had admitted in recent years to sexual misconduct decades earlier, but the school had failed to disclose that to its students and alumni.

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But these questions aren’t all about indiscretions in the distant past.

Last fall, 17-year-old student Michaella Henry told administrators that a male student had put his hands under her shirt and grabbed her backside as she repeatedly said, “No,” she told the Globe.

But rather than take the story to police, school Rev. Robert Thompson gathered the alleged perpetrator, Chukwudi “Chudi” Ikpeazu, and Henry together to work out their differences, according to the Globe.

Out of that meeting came an agreement that Ikpeazu would bake a weekly serving of “monkey bread” and deliver it to her, the Globe reports:

At the minister’s urging, the young man also agreed to an “act of penance”: baking bread and delivering it to Michaella for the rest of the year. The Rev. Robert Thompson praised Michaella for accepting the arrangement, later writing, “You did a great service for Chudi, because you gave him an opportunity to express his regret and to take responsibility for what he had done.”

But the agreement just added to Henry’s stress, as she was pushed to meet with Ikpeazu on a weekly basis.

She eventually reported the incident to police in the spring, and Ikpeazu is facing arraignment on a misdemeanor charge of sexual assault in August, the Globe reports.

You can read the full story at The Boston Globe.

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