Report details decades of sexual abuse at Choate boarding school

By Andrew V. Pestano  |  April 14, 2017 at 8:06 AM
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April 14 (UPI) -- The elite Choate Rosemary Hall boarding school in Wallingford, Conn., said at least 12 teachers sexually molested or raped students in abuse dating back to 1963.

A report to the school's Board of Trustees written by independent investigator Nancy Kestenbaum details incidents of sexual abuse including "intimate kissing," intimate touching, "sexual intercourse" and "forced or coerced intercourse."

The teachers' actions were not reported to police. In some cases, teachers were allowed to resign after being confronted, while some were terminated. Some administrators wrote letters of recommendations for teachers who were fired.

Abuse complaints include the parents of a student who said their daughter contracted herpes from an English teacher in the 1980s and a 1999 school trip to Costa Rica in which a Spanish teacher, who was fired, was accused of raping a student.

"Certain Choate graduates described themselves as having been flattered, at the time, by attention they received from faculty or staff, but told us they later recognized that the conduct had been abusive. They described Choate faculty and staff engaging in acts with them that included intimate kissing, intimate touching and sexual intercourse," the report reads. "Other graduates told us of contact that they recognized as abusive at the time, including forced or coerced intercourse, as well as other incidents of unwanted contact that led students to feel betrayed by faculty or staff they had trusted and admired."

The report names 12 adults affiliated with Choate accused of sexual misconduct with 24 former students. The report does not accuse current faculty members.

Michael J. Carr, chair of the Board of Trustees, and Alex Curtis, the headmaster of the school, wrote in a letter that the "detailed content of this report is devastating to read."

"One can only have the greatest sympathy and deepest concern for the survivors. The conduct of these adults violated the foundation of our community: the sacred trust between students and the adults charged with their care," the school officials wrote in the letter. "Ms. Kestenbaum's report notes that in some circumstances, Choate acted swiftly and decisively in response to reports of sexual misconduct, but in others it did not. On behalf of Choate Rosemary Hall, we profoundly apologize."

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