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Monday, August 24, 2015

Virtue Online - Criminal School Traditions Parallel What Happens in WELS, LCMS, ELS, and CLC (sic)

Kiss Harvard goodbye.
The Senior Salute will probably continue.

NEW HAMPSHIRE: St. Paul's School in denial mode as rape trial begins
By Mary Ann Mueller
VOL Special Correspondent
www.virtueonline.org
Aug. 24, 2015
St. Paul's School was founded in 1856 as a private institution for refined gentlemanly learning for well-to-do Episcopalian boys in antebellum Concord, New Hampshire. As the Revolutionary War was fading into memory, the reorganizing Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America was just getting solid footing in New World America.
The school, with ties to The Episcopal Church, has had its ups and downs during its, sometimes turbulent, 159-year history. Throughout its history the school, nestled in 2,000 wooded acres, has had a strong attachment to gentlemanly sports -- in fact, one of the first assignments the newly established school gave was to "go fishing." This is something the school brags about on its website.
"In the spring of 1856 . . . a young schoolteacher arrived in a carriage at a large property of ponds and woods near Concord, New Hampshire, where a wealthy Boston physician had provided land to create a new school," the website's history page explains. "St. Paul's began that same day, as three boys received their first assignments, one of which was to go fishing. A love of the School's natural habitat has remained constant since those early days."
As the school developed, it became noted for building the first squash court in the United States, turning the lower school pond into nine ice hockey rinks, and preferring to play the English game of cricket, which was defined as a "more refined sport" than the American game of baseball.
By 1910 St. Paul's emphasis on gentlemanly sports was so well defined that the Rev. Samuel Smith Drury was appalled when he became the rector (headmaster) to find the school to be deficient "in almost all aspects -- student body, faculty, and curriculum -- severely lacking a serious commitment to academic pursuits and moral upstandingness." He also disbanded secret societies and ushered in an "Augustan era" where academics and courtly manners were emphasized over leisurely sporting events.
"Senior Salute"
Fast forward to 2014 -- sordid secret sex societies were back. One alleged aspect of the on-campus open sexually-charged culture was the "Senior Salute," where St. Paul's graduating seniors would allegedly "compete with each other to see who would have the most sexual encounters before they graduate." A running tally was supposedly kept on the wall behind the washers.
In the spring of 2014 one girl -- a 15-year-old freshman -- cried rape and pointed her finger at 18-year-old Owen Labrie, a graduating senior who hails from Tunbridge, Vermont.
Even the working press is protecting the identity of the alleged rape victim. She is now a 16-year-old teenager who no longer attends St. Paul's as her family has left the area. Miss X is not being identified by name; the print media is not taking her picture and the broadcast media is disguising her voice. Even her family is being represented by spokespersons when dealing with the press.
Labrie was arrested in mid July 2014 by the Concord Police Department. The charges include felony sex assault, misdemeanor sexual assault, endangering the welfare of a child, and using a computer to solicit or lure a child under the age of 16. The alleged sexual encounter occurred on Friday evening, May 30, 2014, two days before St. Paul's commencement. The 2014 graduate's trial started last week in Concord's Merrimack County Superior Court. During court Labrie sits at the defense table with his defense team. He is a handsome young man with dark wavy hair. The glasses give him a studious look while the tailored blazer and deportment show him to be a New England preppy. He fails to smile.
Owen Labrie, a scholarship student, was graduated on June 1, 2014. At the center of his defense is the alleged "Senior Salute" an apparent decades-long tradition where graduating seniors allegedly compete with each other to seek end-of-year sexual conquests of younger students and to see how many girls could be "slain." The Associated Press reports that during Labrie's interview with Concord police detectives, the suspect explained the "Senior Salute" tradition and claimed he was trying "to be number one" with the most "slays."
High-profile defense
The defense team, headed by criminal defense lawyer J.W. Carey, is painting St. Paul's School as "a place of secret rites and sexual conquest."
Carey is a noted high-profile criminal defense attorney in Boston. He started out as a public defender then switched sides and became the Middlesex County, Massachusetts prosecutor. In that position, he handled a rape case against Army Sgt. Dennis Maher who was charged with raping two women and sexually assaulting a third. Following the successful rape conviction, Carey again switched sides from county prosecutor to defense lawyer. He became an effective private criminal defense attorney and started handling high-profile cases.
In 2003 DNA proved that former Army Sgt. Maher was not the rapist he was convicted of being and was released from prison. As a result Carey became a changed man -- a man on a mission. At the twilight of his law career and bolstered by a solid reputation in criminal defense, Carey can afford to be choosy about the cases he accepts. Now he has Labrie's life and St. Paul's tarnished halo in his hands.
St. Paul's ducks for cover
More than a year ago -- early summer of 2014 -- and as soon as the allegation of rape started to surface, St. Paul's went on the defensive.
"I write today to tell you about a disturbing incident involving St. Paul's School students. One of our recent graduates, Owen Labrie '14, has been charged by the Concord Police Department with sexual assault. The accusation against this young man is based on an incident allegedly occurring at the School before graduation," Michael Hirschfield St. Paul's rector wrote on July 16, 2014. "When this matter was first brought to our attention by the young woman involved, we reported it to the authorities, as is our obligation, and we are cooperating fully with law enforcement."
The victim's family doesn't agree with the school's level of support.
"There has definitely been an issue from the very start when she (Miss X) first reported what happened. There wasn't a lot of support at the school and the community. The family has left that area and she is no longer at that school. They faced a lot of retaliation," Laura Dunn, a spokesperson who is close to the victim's family, told MSNBC. "They (the family) have found support. There is a lot of advocacy organizations in the New Hampshire coalition and a lot of other (rape) survivors have rallied around them."
On Aug. 17, 2015, more than a year later, as the sexual assault trail was about to begin, Hirschfield wrote, "As the Labrie trial begins, you will undoubtedly read or hear allegations surrounding those involved in the situation, as well as about the School. These are, indeed, allegations and not proven facts, and the judicial system will weigh them and determine how this case is ultimately resolved."
Bishop's brother
St. Paul's rector (headmaster) Michael Hirschfield is the younger brother of Bishop Robert Hirschfield (X New Hampshire). The younger Hirschfield is an educator, not a clergyman. He is a 1985 graduate of St. Paul's School; his college years were spent at Princeton, Dartmouth, and the University of Pennsylvania. The Hirschfield tradition continues at St. Paul's. His daughter has joined the ranks of St. Paul's alumni and his son currently attends the prestigious school.
The Episcopal Diocese of New Hampshire is staying mum about the on-going trial. Laura Simoes, the diocesan Missioner for Communications, told Virtueonline, "A statement following the outcome of a legal trial will be offered." The Diocese also promised to include VOL in its media distribution list.
Rector Hirschfield first joined St. Paul's faculty in 1994 where he taught history and humanities. He also coached the boys' rowing crew before serving as the associate director of college advising, director of admissions, and vice rector for enrollment and communications. Before joining the St. Paul's teaching staff, Hirschfield was on the faculty at Kent School, another elite Episcopal prep school in Connecticut.
In 2007 Hirschfield was named St. Paul's vice rector of external affairs and was responsible for overseeing the school's development, alumni relations, admissions, college advising, and communications offices. From that position he was elevated to the rectorship in 2010 after being chosen from a field of "gifted candidates from all over the world."
"It's likely that St. Paul's is a different kind of school from any other you might be exploring. Yes, we are committed to providing the most nurturing environment for intellectual growth through a remarkable array of academic opportunities, but something else distinguishes us: the fact that all of us -- students and teachers -- live on campus, in a community devoted to healthy and caring relationships," Hirschfield explains in his Welcoming Letter on the St. Paul's website. "We are also distinctive in our role as an Episcopal school, a foundation for our central mission of developing graduates who are prepared and willing to pursue lives that contribute to the greater good -- in their communities and in the world."
Media interest
As soon as the rape story broke, the media started sniffing around St. Paul's for clues to the on-campus culture, which would allow such an alleged sexual assault to occur. The story was picked up by American media and has been exported around the world, especially in countries with a strong Anglican presence -- Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand.
"I write to let you know that a reporter from the Boston Globe is contacting members of the SPS community, both here at the School and beyond, seeking reactions to the alleged sexual assault. Because this matter is now before the court, the School has been asked to limit its comments to the press," Hirschfield wrote to his students on Aug. 1, 2014.
Hirschfield posted that if St. Paul's School students want to speak with reporters, it is their decision. He cautioned them to first speak with their parents or the school's communication office before dealing with the press.
On Aug. 17, 2015 Hirschfield again wrote his students and their parents about media attention.
"We are aware that some of our students have been contacted by the media," he wrote. "It's unfortunate, but not surprising, to hear that some reporters are trying to secure comments from SPS students. Our director of communications ...can be reached if you have questions or concerns about how to handle media inquiries."
The next day St. Paul's rector wrote to the school's alumni: "Yesterday, I wrote to SPS students and parents about the Owen Labrie trial and the resulting extensive media coverage.... Please do not hesitate to contact the School with your questions and concerns. I am also extending the School's resources to you, in the event you are contacted by the media. Any media inquiries may be directed to our director of communications..."
In an earlier Aug. 7, 2014 letter to St. Paul's students and their parents Hirschfield wrote, "It is first important to acknowledge that the allegation of a sexual assault at the School and the subsequent media coverage have been unsettling for many within the community. I am aware of this hurt and the compounding effect brought by a lack of knowledge about the circumstances. While the allegation and the people it involves will not be a topic of conversation at the School, the broader issues it raises -- the use of social media to perpetuate unhealthy relationships, the "hook-up" culture and unsanctioned student 'traditions' -- will be."
Hirschfield is also taking a heavy hand: "Participation in any game, 'tradition,' or practice of sexual solicitation or sexual conquest under any name will be grounds for expulsion from the School," he wrote.
As the rape trial gets underway, MSNBC reports that a St. Paul's spokesperson commented, "The allegations of the (hook-up) culture are not emblematic of the culture of the school".
Harvard plans dashed
Labrie was popular on campus. He was captain of the varsity soccer team and was a candidate for the Presidential Scholars Program. He was also a prefect -- a high student leadership position -- for his dorm; as such, he received training about the difference between statutory rape and consensual sex. Before he graduated, Labrie won the Rector's Award for "selfless devotion to the school's activities."
Since the rape allegations, Labrie's plans to attend Harvard have tanked. The aspiring divinity student was previously accepted to the prestigious Ivy League school. On Sept. 3, 2014, the Harvard Crimson newspaper reported that the Harvard student body was minus Owen Labrie. His name was scrubbed from the Harvard College and the Harvard Class of 2018 Facebook pages.
Harvard officials explained that "admission to Harvard College can be revoked on several grounds including engaging in behavior that brings into question honesty, maturity, or moral character."
Harvard College, the oldest school of higher learning in the United States, is one of two undergraduate schools within what is now Harvard University. Labrie had hoped to eventually attend Harvard Divinity School, the university-based, nondenominational theological school, which focuses on the academic study of religion and offers masters degrees in theological studies (MTS); divinity (MDiv); and theology (ThM); as well as a doctorate in theology (ThD).
Mary Ann Mueller is a journalist living in Texas. She is a regular contributor to VirtueOnline

***

GJ - Mary Ann Mueller is an excellent writer for Virtue Online. 

I see many parallels with the so-called conservative synods. I get responses like, "How dare you post a news article and highlight certain sections!" The reason is that some people speed-read and want to know why I am publishing so much bilge. Then they have the freedom to read it all in context.

Bethany Seminary President Gaylin Schmeling made a point of criticizing me in his adult class for "hurting the face of the synod." He knew all the facts, because I gave them to him. He even said he would file the lawsuit about Floyd Luther Stolzenburg, because it would be useful. But the Little Sect on the Prairie adopted adopted him as their new Church Growth hero - and Jay Webber had no trouble with it. Schmeling had no problems either. Tis funny how Webber specializes in getting rid of pastors, but he had no issue with Floyd, who was kicked out of the LCMS and embraced by WELS and the Little Sect. Why didn't he repudiate Floyd and his lapdog Kovo?

The Schwan Foundation even gave matching funds so the John Shep (now ELCA) and Jay Webber operation in the Ukraine could build a church honoring the name of Floyd's. Brings a tear to my eye.

But Jay and the ELS thought it was terrible that I gave the Forbes article about St. Marvin to Christian News to print. Forbes is not exactly an unknown magazine. Little did I know that the truth caused St. Marvin to lose an ex-wife when she read it in Christian News.

Adultery is no sin in WELS or the ELS. Cheating a spouse out of her due in a divorce is no problem, when she is the innocent party. Telling the truth about the sordid behavior of WELS-ELS leaders - that is a great and terrible sin, one that cannot be forgiven (not that I am repentant).

So - just like the Episcopalians above - truth is the sin. The mainlines like WELS, ELS, and LCMS can abuse women and children all they want. But telling the truth is good for excommunication and having the slander machine revved up to full speed.

The restrictions of his divorce were
never followed by WELS or the Little Sect -
they are above the law.