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Sexual abuse at boarding school went on for decades

Sexual abuse at boarding school went on for decades”

Choate Rosemary Hall has acknowledged decades of sexual abuse of students by former teachers, according to an investigator's report written for the Wallingford school's board of trustees.

An investigator at the law firm, Covington & Burling LLP, reported that at least 12 former faculty members participated in some form of abuse between 1960s and 2010s.

In an incident that took place in Costa Rica, a Spanish teacher, Jaime Rivera-Murillo, sexually assaulted a 17-year-old student near a swimming pool before another classmate came to her aid in October 1999.

Even when a teacher was terminated or resigned because he or she had engaged in sexual misconduct with a student, the rest of the faculty was told little and sometimes nothing about the teacher's departure, the report said.

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Choate faculty and staff engaged in "intimate kissing, intimate touching and sexual intercourse" with 24 students.

No current faculty or staff members have been implicated in the misconduct claims and there are no reports relating to any current students. "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".

The school began writing to its community in 2014, asking alumni to come forward with any information about inappropriate adult behavior they experienced at Choate. "We extend our deepest apologies most specifically to all survivors of sexual misconduct and their loved ones". 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.

During the investigation, Choate officials learned the alleged incidents involving Rivera had not been reported to the state Department of Children and Families, as required by law, so they reported them to the department and to Wamogo officials, school spokeswoman Lorraine Connelly said Friday. Former students said they were flattered by the attention at the time, but later came to realize the authority figures were taking advantage of them.

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Choate said in a statement, "Choate is releasing the full contents of an independent investigator's report consistent with its commitment to transparency and its pledge to be at the forefront of the highest standard of care in preventing and addressing adult sexual misconduct". The report says he denied the allegations.

CBS Hartford, Connecticut affiliate WFSB-TV reports the school issued a statement saying, "On behalf of Choate Rosemary Hall, we profoundly apologize. On at least one occasion, a faculty member remained until his voluntary retirement, some 10 years after a student reported an incident of sexual misconduct". 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.

According to the investigation, the reports of sexual misconduct Kestenbaum recorded "were distributed in a rough bell curve, with the greatest number of reports concerning 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 teacher was sacked for "just cause" after the incident, but continued to teach at other schools, the report said.

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