Sexual Abuse at Choate Went On for Decades, School Acknowledges
By ELIZABETH A. HARRISAPRIL 13, 2017
Choate Rosemary Hall, the elite Connecticut boarding school, said on Thursday that at least 12 former teachers had sexually molested — and, in at least one case, raped — students in a pattern of abuse dating to the 1960s.
The allegations in a report prepared by an investigator for the board of trustees include instances of “intimate kissing” and “intimate touching.”
The parents of a Choate student complained to the school in the early 1980s after their daughter contracted herpes from an English teacher. And in another case, the report describes a student’s rape on a school trip to Costa Rica.
None of the teachers’ actions were reported to the police. In some cases, teachers were allowed to resign after being confronted with evidence of misconduct, and administrators wrote letters of recommendations for teachers who were fired.
Choate, in Wallingford, Conn., is a blue-blooded school whose alumni include President John F. Kennedy and his brother Joseph P. Kennedy Jr. It is the latest in a string of prestigious private academies that have faced accusations of sexual abuse by faculty members, including St. George’s School, in Rhode Island, and Horace Mann and Poly Prep in New York City.
“They are closed systems, especially residential private schools where kids are separated from their parents,” said Paul Mones, a lawyer who represents victims of sexual abuse. “It’s not like a public school, with people coming in and out all the time. There are many more opportunities for teachers to do this.”
Choate said it had been compelled to examine this ugly history in 2013, after two alumni alerted the school to sexual misconduct they had experienced as students, the report said. In 2016, The Boston Globe published an article that described abuse at the school, and shortly thereafter, Choate announced that it had appointed an investigator from the law firm Covington & Burling.
In a letter to members of the school community that accompanied the report, Michael J. Carr, the chairman of the board of trustees, and Alex D. Curtis, the headmaster, apologized and thanked the victims who came forward.