Episcopal High School in Baton Rouge is investigating an employee accused of sexually assaulting a former student several years ago.
The employee is on unspecified leave while both the school and law enforcement officials investigate, the school said in a news release issued late Monday.
“Steps began promptly and are continuing to ensure the accused will not be on campus pending an investigation, and Episcopal has pledged its full cooperation with the authorities,” school officials stated.
The prominent Baton Rouge private school, 3200 Woodland Ridge Blvd., is hiring an independent investigator and called for anyone with information about the incident or any other allegations of sexual assault to come forward.
“The Board and the school want to know of any other allegations of this nature that may come to light," the release states. “Details of how to convey any such information will be forthcoming.”
The Baton Rouge Police Department Sex Crimes Unit is handling the law enforcement side of the investigation, but spokesman Sgt. L'Jean McKneely offered few details Tuesday.
"It's something that happened some time ago, but the complaint is recent," McKneely said.
The accusation of sexual assault against an Episcopal employee is unprecedented, according to the release from the school: “Current members of the Board and leaders of the school know of no other allegations of this type in the school’s 50-year history.”
In an interview, Katheryn Flournoy, the chairwoman of Episcopal’s 22-member board of directors, said Monday night’s news release was preceded by a letter to parents sent earlier in the evening.
Flournoy declined to say whether the employee in question is a teacher. She said the allegation came to the school’s attention just a few days ago, and it allegedly occurred several years ago.
The board of directors met Friday to discuss the allegations, setting up a special investigatory committee of the board and authorizing its general counsel, Taylor Porter law firm, to hire an outside investigator, Flournoy said. She said no civil litigation in the matter has been filed that she's aware of.
In the Monday news release, the school emphasizes it already screens fingerprints of prospective employees prior to hiring them. The school also “has a thorough policy on sexual assault, and employs an ongoing program of training teachers to be alert to indicators of sexual misconduct of all types,” according to the release.
The school said any "student or parent with concerns related to this alleged incident” can seek out help from any of the school’s four full-time counselors and the school’s chaplain.