A former student is likely going on trial for sexual assault in Massachusetts after prestigious boarding school Phillips Exeter Academy reportedly mishandled allegations against him last fall.
Sea Coast Online, a newspaper in Portsmouth, N.H., reported that Chukwudi “Chudi” Ikpeazu pleaded not guilty on Aug. 8 to a misdemeanor charge of sexual assault, stemming from allegations that he forcibly fondled a 17-year-old female student’s breasts after she told him “no” multiple times.
After a trial management conference on Nov. 1, a trial date for Ikpeazu will likely be set. Neither side “expects a plea deal at the conference,” the Sea Coast Online article said.
Ikpeazu was accepted to Penn as part of the Class of 2020, and was committed to run track, according to a Boston Globe article. Though he is still listed as a College student in the Penn Directory, Ikpeazu is no longer enrolled at Penn, Vice President for University Communications Stephen MacCarthy said. Whether Ikpeazu is still capable of returning to Penn is not a matter of public record, MacCarthy said, due to student privacy laws. Sea Coast Online reported that he is currently home in Parkland, Fla. as the legal process has played out.
Ikpeazu’s lawyer Richard Samdperil was not available to comment on Monday night.
When The Daily Pennsylvanian first reported on Ikpeazu on July 18, Penn responded to the news of Ikpeazu’s sexual assault charges with a statement that his admissions status was “currently on hold.”
“There is an ongoing investigation into these allegations that is in the hands of the judicial system,” the statement said. “The University takes any accusations of sexual harassment or violence seriously so the student’s admission status is currently on hold pending any further developments in the matter.
The track and field team deferred a request for comment to the University’s statement over the summer, and Ikpeazu is not currently listed on the track team’s online roster.
The Globe article drew attention and criticism to Exeter’s handling of the sexual assault case. The article said that when the complainant, Michaella Henry, who allowed The Globe to use her name publicly, sought help from school officials about the incident, the campus minister arranged for Ikpeazu to bake Henry bread and bring it to her weekly as an “act of penance.”
Henry notified local authorities of the alleged assault in May and Ikpeazu turned himself in to police on June 3 for a misdemeanor charge of sexual assault, The Globe reported. He has been free on $5,000 bail since that date.