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Merrimack Valley

January 11, 2013

Unclear if state mandated reporter law applies to former Brooks headmaster

(Continued)

After the conclusion of the investigation, Forbes did not inform the full Board of Trustees about the accusation, Schwartzman has said. The president of the Board of Trustees would make the decision whether and how much to tell the full board and other school personnel about allegations and investigations into the headmaster’s conduct, she said

Failure to report under the law carries a $1,000 fine.

Brooks reviewed Becker’s tenure, from 1986 to 2008, after someone sent many anonymous emails to the school last summer. Becker first denied knowledge about the content and origin of the emails, but in September acknowledged to school officials that he was being threatened by a male escort he had hired in the fall of 2011.

In 2004, a different trustee president looked into an allegation against Becker of sexual misbehavior after school officials that year received calls claiming Becker had engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior while traveling alone on school business. At least one interview was conducted, but Becker denied the allegations “and provided an account of his activities which, we now know, was untrue,” official wrote in the letter to alumni.

David R. Williams, III, a 1967 Brooks alumnus who was president of the Board of Trustees from 1997 until 2005, would have been responsible for that investigation. Again, the full Board of Trustees was not informed of the allegations, Schwartzman said.

It was in the course of that review school officials discovered the allegations of Becker’s relationship with a student, through conversations with faculty and staff who have been at the school for years.

During Becker’s 22 years leading Brooks, a private preparatory high school with 369 students founded in 1926 and situated on Lake Cochichewick, he oversaw a rise in enrollment and fundraising, the construction of a new library and the creation and expansion of a study abroad program led by former assistant headmaster Richard Holmes.

Anyone with information or knowledge that calls into question Becker’s conduct or oversight of the school is urged to email Packard at headofschool@brooksschool.org, or call 978-725-6239.

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