Tom Hassan’s Pay Skyrocketed After Teacher Sex Scandal

Former Phillips Exeter Academy principal’s salary increased 60 percent during tenure

Maggie Hassan with husband Tom Hassan / AP

BY:

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan’s husband received a $30,000 salary increase the year after his administration failed to inform the public about a sex scandal involving a teacher.

Former Phillips Exeter Academy principal Tom Hassan saw his salary rise about 10 percent, from $332,309 to $361,922, between the 2011 and 2012 school year, according to federal filings.

In November 2011, the school turned over to law enforcement a complaint that longtime history teacher Rick Schubart engaged in sexual misconduct with a student in the 1970s. Hassan forced Schubart to retire and removed him from campus housing, but allowed the him to retain emeritus status. The school did not inform the community, parents, and alumni of the scandal.

Hassan served as principal at the academy, which costs between $38,000 and $48,000 to attend, from 2009 to 2015. His salary increased by more than 60 percent during his tenure.

His base pay rose from $224,371 during the 2009-2010 school year to $361,922 during the 2013-2014 school year, according to the academy’s 2014 federal filings, the most recent records available. He received between $116,000 to $178,000 in perks and benefits from the school each year in addition to his base pay. His largest single-year pay bump came between his first and second years in office, when his base pay rose about $75,000.

Schubart’s sexual misconduct scandal has shocked the community and led to further investigation from the local police department.

Hassan has said that he did not go public with allegations about Schubart's admitted relationship with a female student out of respect for the student's privacy. His successor, Lisa MacFarlene, called the school's handling of the affair "insufficient" and sent a letter to alumni informing them of the abuse after receiving an inquiry from the Boston Globe.

The Washington Free Beacon reached out to Hassan by phone Tuesday morning. A woman who answered promptly hung up the phone.

Phillips Exeter barred Schubart from campus in 2015 after a second allegation of sexual misconduct was reported by a former student from the 1980s. Hassan apologized for his "inadequate" punishment of Schubart on Friday, one day after he was censured by the Association of Boarding Schools for his silence.

Hassan joined the association's board in 2012 and failed to inform them of Schubart’s admitted misconduct before the group presented the teacher with a service award.

Hassan apparently kept his wife, Maggie Hassan, in the dark as well. The 2016 Democratic Senate nominee named Schubart and his wife Caren to two different leadership steering committees on her 2012 gubernatorial campaign after her husband learned of the first case of misconduct. She told reporters on Friday that she had no knowledge of the allegations at the time. She issued a public apology on Tuesday for failing to vet the teacher.

"I did sense something was wrong when Mr. Schubart abruptly left campus," she said. "I should have worked more actively to review my public supporter and steering committee lists and remove him from it. And I apologize for that."

The scandal surrounding Phillips Exeter has grown since the Globe’s initial report. Four additional alumni have come forward in the past week alleging that they were subject to sexual misconduct at the hands of faculty. Neither the Exeter Police Department nor the academy have elaborated on the exact nature of these allegations, the ages of the complainants, or the time period of the potential misconduct, citing the "ongoing investigation" into the claims.

"I can’t comment on any ongoing investigation, but can tell you that if anyone reports a possible claim we immediately notify the Exeter Police Department and upon their approval, launch a thorough investigation," an academy spokeswoman said in an email. She did not respond to follow up questions about Hassan’s pay.

The Exeter Police Department, which did not respond to multiple requests for comment, confirmed to WMUR that it is investigating four charges of sexual abuse, though none involve Schubart.

Bill McMorris   Email Bill | Full Bio | RSS
Bill McMorris is a staff writer for the Washington Free Beacon. He joins the Beacon from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, where he was managing editor of Old Dominion Watchdog. He was a 2010 Robert Novak Fellow with the Phillips Foundation, where he studied state pension shortfalls. His work has been featured on CNN, Fox News, The Economist, Colbert Report, and numerous print publications and radio stations. He lives in Alexandria, Va, with his wife and three daughters. His Twitter handle is @FBillMcMorris. His email address is mcmorris@freebeacon.com.