Teacher accused of abuse was trusted by victim’s family
BRENTWOOD, N.H. (AP) — A woman’s family thought a former Phillips Exeter Academy teacher was her “guardian angel” before he was charged with sexually assaulting her, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
The parents trusted Szczesny “Jerzy” Kaminski, 59, with their daughter and dined with him when visiting her in Exeter, according to an affidavit made public after his arrest.
A judge released Kaminski after setting bail at $50,000 with conditions that included no contact with the family and no unsupervised contact with unrelated minors, according to his lawyer Amy Spencer.
Police began investigating Kaminski in March after the Rockingham County Attorney’s Office received a call from an attorney representing the now 20-year-old woman. The attorney claimed Kaminski, a Phillips Exeter teacher for nearly three decades, began engaging in inappropriate sexual contact with the student in 2014 when she was in ninth grade.
According to the affidavit, Kaminski drove the student to the Boston Conservatory for piano lessons, brought soup to her when she was sick, and spoke on her behalf during an alleged disciplinary hearing.
They entered into a sexual relationship that continued until the school launched an investigation, the affidavit said.
The school cited the teacher for “boundary issues” with the student but he was not fired at the time, a spokeswoman said. Kaminski was fired in April after Phillips Exeter was notified by police of the investigation.
On Tuesday, Rockingham County Attorney Patricia Conway asked the judge to deny bail, calling Kaminski “a dangerous threat” to the community, especially children. Kaminski’s lawyer argued that her client suffers from hypertension and would be in danger at the Rockingham County jail, where 11 inmates and workers have tested positive for the coronavirus.
Exeter is one of several prep schools in New England that have been rocked by sexual misconduct claims going back decades, mostly involving former staffers. The claims have resulted in reports finding abuse going back decades, lawsuits by former students and criminal charges.