Head of prep school rocked by sex abuse cases leaving early

The head of an elite New England prep school that's been rocked by years of sexual abuse claims is stepping down a year earlier than planned.

St. Paul's School Rector Michael Hirschfeld is leaving as of June 30. He originally planned to leave after the 2018-19 school year.

Hirschfeld has been rector since 2011. He hasn't been accused of wrongdoing. He wrote to Board of Trustees President Archibald Cox Jr., on Monday that it's been "an unusually painful time for the entire school community and also for my family."

Cox thanked Hirschfeld for his leadership while dealing with "unprecedented challenges on numerous fronts."

The state attorney general's office began investigating last summer after St. Paul's put out its own report about sexual assaults by teachers. Claims date to 1948.