School district hires attorney to probe legacy of sexual abuse

Aimee Goddard given the charge to look into sexual abuse allegations at Brattleboro Union High School and the school district — incidents that date to the early 1970s

BRATTLEBORO — The Windham Southeast School District Board has chosen attorney Aimee Goddard of Buehler & Annis, PLC to serve as independent investigator into sexual abuse charges dating back to the early 1970s, following evidence “to wherever the investigation takes it,” as School Board Chair David Schoales put it.

The decision was made at the board's Dec. 21 meeting, held at the Dummerston School and livestreamed on Zoom.

“We have identified an investigator and a law firm we would like to retain to conduct the investigations,” said Schoales, when the agenda moved to “update on the educator sexual misconduct investigation.”

Until recently, Goddard had been with Windham Law, PLC, which she joined as an associate attorney in 2019. The practice disbanded at the start of this year.

Her practice areas include representing both management and employees in employment law matters, civil litigation, family law, LGBTQ+ law, criminal law, and real estate matters.

From 2015 to 2017, Goddard clerked for the justices of the Superior Court of Massachusetts, where she assisted them in writing opinions and gained litigation experience in civil and criminal cases.

Following her clerkship, she represented individual and business clients in employment matters in both state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels in Massachusetts.

Goddard graduated magna cum laude from Vermont Law School, where she also maintained an elected position with the Vermont Law Review and completed a judicial externship with Judge William G. Young of the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts.

Originally from Colorado, Goddard resides in the area with her wife and twin boys.

At the meeting, Mindy Haskins Rogers, a Brattleboro Union High School alumna whose commentary in The Commons last summer sparked the investigation, spoke briefly.

Haskins Rogers, who reports that she has been contacted by dozens of former students alleging sexual abuse by then-teacher Zeke Hecker and others on the staff over decades, told Schoales that she understood the district's use of the word “misconduct” likely because it “doesn't have leading legal ramifications.”

But she requested that reporting not “be relayed in euphemistic language.”

“If people are coming forward after all this time, I would not like to see the reporting softened to in any way diminish the damage done,” she said, adding she believes that could cause more harm.

Schoales, pointing out that Buehler & Annis, PLC is an all-female firm, said Haskins Rogers' request was “perfectly understandable” and that he can't imagine the investigator “will obfuscate.”

Goddard did not return calls from The Commons by press time.

Subscribe to the newsletter for weekly updates