Man charged with assaulting students
BENNINGTON -- A Woodford man who worked at Bromley BrookSchool pleaded not guilty on Dec. 3 in BenningtonDistrict Court to allegations of sexual activity with two students there.
Theschool, located in Manchester, is a private boardingschool for teenage girls.
Stephen Peters, 40, is charged with felony counts of sexual exploitation of a minor and lewd and lascivious conduct with a child. Mary Sallisky, director of operations at the school, said Monday that it is the school’s policy to neither confirm or deny a person’s employment for confidentiality reasons.
According to an affidavit filed by Manchester Police OfficerPaul McGann, on Oct. 14, he was notified by James Morris, an investigator with the Division of Families and Children Special Investigation Unit, about a report concerning alleged sexual activity between a 16-year-old female student at the Bromley Brook School and a 40-year-old employee.
McGann said that he spoke with an employee at the school who said a 17-year-old student reported knowing of a male employee, Peters, and a 16-year-old student who would use offices on the second floor of the school for sexual encounters.
The 17-year-old said she hadn’t witnessed the activity, but had been told of it by the 16-year-old and knew that another student was letting the 16-year-old use her e-mail account to communicate with Peters.
According to the affidavit, the 16-year-old was interviewed at the Bennington Child Advocacy Center. She said she had feelings for Peters and communicated with him via e-mail.
McGann said that on Oct. 15, he met with the 18-year-old student who said that Peters and the 16-year-old were in a sexual relationship and that she had used her computer to facilitate communication between them. McGann said the 18-year-old was interviewed a second time on Oct. 23, and in the interview, she said that the 16-year-old was her roommate and that Peters and the girl would talk about their relationship.
McGann said he interviewed the 17-year-old student, who said that the 16-year-old had told her about a relationship between her and Peters. According to the affidavit, the 17-year-old said that Peters was a coach and a teacher at the school.
According to the affidavit, on Oct. 22, the alleged victim spoke with McGann and said that she and Peters had been having sex since the middle of September, the last incident occurring on Oct. 11.
Second victim interview
McGann said the alleged victim was interviewed a second time on Nov. 24 at the CAC to record her earlier statements. According to the affidavit, the girl said she began to develop feelings for Peters in March, and she told him that she loved him while on a school camping trip.
According to the affidavit, Peters told the girl he loved her as well.
According to a second affidavit filed by McGann, on Nov. 24 he received a report from the Department of Children and Families that a 12-year-old student at the Bromley Brook School reported that she had been kissed on the lips by Peters.
According to the affidavit, the girl reported that Peters would ask questions about her experience with men and kissed her on the cheek and in later sessions, the lips.
McGann said he interviewed the girl, who said she used to talk with a person, whom she identified as Peters. She said he would check in on her to see how she was doing. The girl said she was attacked by her roommate and that Peters had intervened.
According to the affidavit, the girl said that the first time Peters kissed her was in September when he had been "fighting" with another female. According to the affidavit, the girl also reported an incident in which Peters ran his hand up her leg.
She said she had been kissed on the lips by Peters three times and the cheek twice.
Peters was released on conditions that he not have contact with anyone under the age of 18, except for his own children. He was also ordered not to go onto the premises of any school where minors attend. He also must not go on the grounds of Bromley Brook School or have contact with anyone at the school.
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