Rhode Island boarding school in sexual abuse scandal names new leader

This Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, photo shows buildings at St. George's School in Middletown, R.I. The school and a group of victims announced Monday, Jan. 11, that former Massachusetts attorney general Scott Harshbarger had been hired to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at the prestigious Rhode Island boarding school. More than 40 former students at the school alleged they were molested or raped there, mostly in the 1970s and '80s. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
This Thursday, Jan. 7, 2016, photo shows buildings at St. George's School in Middletown, R.I. The school and a group of victims announced Monday, Jan. 11, that former Massachusetts attorney general Scott Harshbarger had been hired to conduct an independent investigation into allegations of sexual abuse at the prestigious Rhode Island boarding school. More than 40 former students at the school alleged they were molested or raped there, mostly in the 1970s and '80s. (AP Photo/Steven Senne) –Steven Senne / Associated Press

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (AP) — A Rhode Island boarding school rocked by widespread sexual abuse says it has hired a new head of school to succeed its departing leader.

St. George’s School in Middletown said on Friday that Alexandra Callen will become the first woman to lead the 120-year-old school when she takes over in July. Callen has held leadership positions in public and private schools in Seattle and Massachusetts.

Dozens of alumni have said they were abused at St. George’s from the 1970s to the 2000s.

Eric Peterson has led the school since 2004 and has been criticized by many victims for not responding appropriately to reports of abuse.

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In a written statement, the chair of the board of trustees says Peterson and his wife, a school employee, will be missed.

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