Report on East Coast prep school details decades of sexual misconduct

WABC(WALLINGFORD, Conn.) — At least 12 former faculty members at the elite Connecticut boarding school Choate Rosemary Hall engaged in "substantiated instances of sexual misconduct" with students dating back to the 1960s, the school said in a new report.

The report came as a result of an independent investigation led by investigator and former prosecutor Nancy Kestenbaum of Covington & Burling LLP after the school engaged the firm to conduct the investigation.

The investigation was announced two months after a former student wrote on a Choate alumni Facebook page about "two former teachers’ sexual misconduct, the impact it has had on her life, and her desire to see Choate take action with respect to reports of sexual misconduct, including her own," the report said. The investigation announcement also came days after the Boston Globe published an article describing misconduct at Choate, among other schools.

In a letter last fall, Choate told the school community about the investigation and asked "anyone with possible knowledge of sexual misconduct by faculty or staff at Choate" to contact the school.

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.

The greatest number of reports concerned "incidents in the 1980s, with roughly half that number in the 1970s and 1990s, and with significantly smaller numbers in the 1960s and 2000s," the report said. "We received a handful of reports of sexual misconduct in the 2010s."

"Certain Choate graduates described themselves as having been flattered, at the time," by the attention from adults, but "later recognized that the conduct had been abusive," the report said. "They described Choate faculty and staff engaging in acts with them that included intimate kissing, intimate touching and sexual intercourse."

"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 said. "Regardless of how the graduates felt at the time, many reported to us that these physical or sexual encounters with faculty or staff, who had occupied positions of authority and trust, disturbed them throughout their adult lives."

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