Sexual abuse at Connecticut boarding school persisted for decades, investigation finds

Photo via Daderot/Wikimedia Commons (Public Domain)

12 former faculty members have been accused of sexual misconduct.

At least 12 former educators at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, abused students by coercing sex and forcing sexual relationships in cases that date back to the 1960s, the boarding school acknowledged on Thursday.

In a 50-page report executed by law firm Covington & Burling and issued by the school last year, allegations from 24 former Choate students detail a culture of sexual misconduct involving intimate kissing, sex, and in at least one case rape, perpetuated by a school administration that failed to report teachers to the police.

According to the report, teachers in some cases were allowed to resign, while teachers fired would be written letters of recommendation. Other faculty were kept in the dark about a teacher’s departure and were told to not say anything if they were asked.

According to the New York Times, five of the 12 named faculty are dead, and attempts to contact the remaining seven weren’t returned. Allegations involve both male and female former faculty, though no present faculty were mentioned in the report. Some cases involved inappropriate sexual contact, while others detailed instances of grooming and sexual relationships that continued after a student left the school.

One case details the rape of a 17-year-old student by a Spanish teacher while on a study abroad trip in Costa Rica. Another student came to her help, and they reported him to the administration. Though he was fired, the teacher continued to work at other Connecticut schools, and resigned from a principal position at a high school this month after being contacted by the Choate investigators.

The report says Choate began investigating the school’s history in 2013 after two alumni told the school about sexual misconduct they experienced. A Boston Globe piece detailed abuse allegations in 2016, leading to the school’s official investigation that launched that year.

“We hope that through this report, our community can address the issue of adult sexual misconduct in a frank and direct manner,” a letter from the school’s headmaster and chairman of the board of trustees to the community reads. “Throughout this self-examination, our goal has been to come together as a community to provide validation and support to those who suffered from abuse, to learn from the past.”

H/T New York Daily News

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