Devastation best describes the feeling St. Louis mother Phoebe McVey felt after she learned her sixteen-year-old daughter had been repeatedly raped. Not only was her daughter’s rapist a trusted school official, but also a colleague.
McVey has taught at the private Christian Science institution Principia School in St. Louis, MO since 2007. After learning that Zachary Retzlaff, the school’s director of communications, was raping her teenage daughter, McVey did not hesitate to contact the authorities to bring charges against him. Retzlaff was indicted on charges of statutory rape.
The teen would babysit for Mr. Retzlaff at his home for his three young children — that is when and where the sexual assault began. A typical job for an average teen, but Mr. Retzlaff had other duties that he wanted her to perform that were far from appropriate. From July 2014 to May 2015, she was sexually abused.
Not only was this man physically raping her but he was harming her with sado-masochistic activity, choking her until she passed out. He allegedly did not only partake with just this one minor, but he even threw sex parties with other minors. This is not the first time Retzlaff has been known to sleep with students and the school officials have failed to take action. Perhaps not coincidentally, Retzlaff is the nephew-in-law of the school’s dean of admissions.
The school responded to the indictment by firing McVey from her job, even though she had a full year left on her contract. Beyond losing her salary, she will now be forced to find new housing because she lived with her family on campus.
Principia issued a statement denying that Retzlaff raped McVey’s daughter, as well as claiming that he has never had sexual relations with any students.