Pook gets jail: Pleads guilty to conspiracy and contempt of court

Pook

CONCORD – Former St. Paul’s School teacher David Pook is going to jail for four months after he pleaded guilty Friday to charges of conspiracy to commit false swearing, and contempt of court.

Pook, 47, of Warner, got caught trying to shield his relationship with a former student from the grand jury investigating St. Paul, New Hampshire Assistant Attorney General Jane Young said. Pook’s actions delayed the state’s St. Paul investigation by several months, she said.

“Because of the boldfaced lies,” Young said.

The state’s ongoing investigation of the school began in the wake of the Owen Labrie rape case. Labrie was found guilty in August 2015 of luring an underage student into a sexual encounter while he was an upperclassman. He was convicted on sexual assault and child endangerment counts. Labrie is appealing his case to the New Hampshire Supreme Court.

The Labrie case brought to light the practice of upperclassmen targeting younger students for sex. Since then, former students have come forward to accuse school officials and teachers of sexually inappropriate conduct.

The school is also now the subject to two lawsuits. One was filed by a recent female student who alleges she was sexually assaulted and harassed by other students. The other lawsuit, filed by two former students from the 1960s and 1970s, alleged sexual misconduct by faculty.

As the state was looking into St. Paul’s, it uncovered Pook’s 2008 firing from the school under questionable circumstances, Young said. Pook was fired for his relationship with a then 18-year-old student at the school, Stephanie O’Connell. Though he was fired, St. Paul’s officials allegedly gave Pook a good recommendation when he went to teach at the Derryfield School in 2009.

Pook did not offer a statement to the court during his change of plea and sentencing hearing on Friday. His attorney, Mark Sisti, said Pook is taking full responsibility for his actions.

Pook is sentenced to one year in jail for conspiracy charge, though he will serve three months of that sentence, with the remainder suspended for two years. He is serving an additional 30 days for the contempt of court charge. The two sentences in total will place him behind bars for four months.

Pook is to remain on good behavior for two years once he is out of jail, and he is not to again be employed as a teacher.

Damien Fisher can be reached at 594-1245 or dfisher@nashuatelegraph.com or @Telegraph_DF.