Exclusive boarding Choate school admits sexual abuse

Apr 15, 2017, 02:30
Exclusive boarding Choate school admits sexual abuse

Choate Rosemary Hall, an elite CT boarding school, released an outside investigator's report on Thursday revealing detailed allegations that many students were victims of sexual misconduct over decades.

The report issued by Nancy Kestenbaum of the New York City law firm of Covington & Burling was presented to the school's Board of Trustees on Thursday.

In one case, a former teacher reportedly coerced a female student in the 1990s into a relationship with him and forced her to have sex at his home, the report said.

No reports were received relating to current Choate students and no reports of sexual misconduct were substantiated regarding any current faculty members or staff, the report said. "In other cases, it was slower to respond and allowed the faculty member to remain at the school", the report said. The reporting team identified 31 educators (only one from Choate-others from schools in the area) who, after being reported for some sort of sexual misconduct, went on to work with children in other schools or educational settings.

Choate, whose notable alumni include former President John F. Kennedy and his brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., released a letter Thursday to the school's community calling the report's findings "devastating". The conduct of these adults violated the foundation of our community: "the sacred trust between students and the adults charged with their care", wrote Michael J. Carr, a chairman of the board, and Headmaster Alex Curtis. When a male classmate tried to stop the teacher from sexually assaulting the girl, he "tried to take a swing at" the boy, the report said.

According to the report, sexual misconduct matters were handled internally and quietly and in almost all of the incidents detailed in the report, the faculty or staff members accused of sexual misconduct were usually required to leave the school by resigning.

While the report does not analyze whether Choate or any individuals affiliated with the school violated any laws, it does say that Choate did not make any reports to the Department of Children and Families regarding adult sexual misconduct prior to 2010.

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"The number of people they've named is absolutely extraordinary, " MacLeish said, noting that he was impressed that the school moved quickly to produce the report.

At least one teacher stayed at the school until his retirement, 10 years after a student reported an incident of sexual misconduct. A report by a Boston lawyer said the school became a "private hell" for dozens of students. The student reported the incident to the school, which investigated it and and initially made a decision to continue employing Timlin with conditions that he move out of the girls dorm, where he was an adviser, and meet with a psychiatrist, according to the report. A "handful of reports" were submitted about sexual misconduct in the 2010s.

She went onto say the school made an effort to hide incidents of sexual misconduct. The statement continued: "On behalf of Choate Rosemary Hall, we profoundly apologize".

"We honor and thank the survivors of sexual misconduct who came forward".

The report adds that Choate kept the incidents quiet.

Cheyenne Montgomery graduated from Choate in 1992 and said she was abused by two different teachers there, she told the Times.

Rivera was sacked by Choate shortly after the alleged acts. The student's parents objected to the school's decision and, later that year, he was asked to resign.