WSESD sex abuse probe moves to new phase

Board says some type of report about the outside investigation is forthcoming — at some point

BRATTLEBORO — The fact-gathering phase of the sexual abuse investigation in the Windham Southeast School District will wrap up soon, if it hasn't already.

That's what Chair Kelly Young announced at the board's May 23 meeting.

The investigation has been ongoing since the board hired attorney Aimee Goddard of Annis & Goddard, a Brattleboro-based law firm, on Dec. 21, 2022 to serve as independent investigator into sexual abuse charges against educators dating back to the early 1970s.

Young said anyone “who has been considering making a report but hasn't done so” is encouraged to do so soon by calling 802-451-0905 or sending an email to [email protected]. More information is available at

She asked for continued patience from the public, adding that the board is taking the issues under investigation seriously.

Board has been hands-off by design

In the past several months, board members have met in executive sessions with civil litigation attorney Kendall Hoechst of Dinse, a firm in Burlington, who was hired to serve as a “firewall” between the board and Goddard.

“The community did not want the board to be involved in the investigation, to do the investigation[, and] the community wanted the board to remain separate and apart from the investigation,” Young said, adding that Hoechst was brought in to “preserve the integrity of the investigation.”

Since her hiring, the board has communicated with Hoechst, who then communicates with Goddard.

Both students and members of the public have repeatedly asked the board for information about the investigation, including factual information about how many people have reported sexual abuse and how many educators have been named in those reports.

Young said at the May meeting that the board has now “determined what information it wants” and that Hoechst has communicated that to Goddard.

The chair added that she “can't say” where Goddard is in her process and is waiting for that information from the lawyer so she can report to the board.

“We have put out the request for some information that we can share,” Young said.

The investigation was prompted by an August 2021 essay in The Commons by Brattleboro High School alum Mindy Haskins Rogers, who broke the story of a history and culture of alleged sexual abuse in the district.

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