Choate Details Decades of Alleged Sexual Misconduct by Faculty


Students at Choate Rosemary Hall, an elite boarding school in CT, were sexually abused by at least 12 faculty members in incidents that date back to the 1960s, according to a report commissioned by the school and released on Friday.

Liz Sanders, a Wallingford resident that attended Choate from 2002 to 2005, said Friday she is "deeply shocked and mortified" to learn that sexual abuse occurred during her time at the school. School officials sent then-Dean of Students Elinor Abbe to Costa Rica, the report states. Timlin went on to teach at several CT colleges, the report said. In some cases, teachers were allowed to resign after being confronted, while some were terminated.

The report notes that sexual relationships between students and faculty have been prohibited at the school since 1976 and, in 1991, Choate adopted an anti-harassment and discrimination policy.

The report comes after a series of sexual abuse scandals at other exclusive New England boarding schools, including Phillips Exeter Academy in Exeter, New Hampshire; Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts; and St. George's School in Middletown, Rhode Island. "They are closed systems, especially residential private schools where kids are separated from their parents", Paul Mones, a lawyer who represents victims of sexual abuse, told the Times.

One of the most extreme allegations of assault stems from a 1999 incident involving a teacher from September 1998 to October 1999. His victims, the report said, were a 15-year-old female student who he is accused of fondling and a 17-year-old student he is accused of raping in a swimming pool.

Another student claims he found Rivera in the midst of "thrusting" into the young girl, and yanked the teacher away from the girl. What an internal investigation has turned up is not something the school will be able to ignore. He was not reported to police, and he continued to work elsewhere as an educator, eventually becoming principal of a CT high school. The individuals named in the report are John Joseph; William (Bill) Maillet; Kenneth Mills; Frederic (Rick) Lyman; Watson (Chip) Lowery; Adam Hardej; Jean-Marc Dautrey; Angus Mairs; Bjorn Runquist; William (Bill) Cobbett; Jaime Rivera-Murillo; and Charles (Chuck) Timlin. The School retained Nancy Kestenbaum of Covington & Burling LLP, a former federal prosecutor, to conduct an investigation of such reports. Of the 12 teachers named in the report, five have died. Claims had not been substantiated against current staff, it said. The report identified at least 12 teachers who have been accused of sexual misconduct by Choate graduates and detailed the school's response to such instances when it was reported to them.

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The report says the alleged sexual misconduct took place between 1963 and 2010 and included "intimate kissing", "sexual intercourse" and "forced or coerced intercourse".

"Our interviews and school records showed that sometimes the school moved quickly and decisively", the report reads. In some cases, the report says, the school "allowed the faculty member to remain at the school, sometimes with restrictions on his or her activity, for a considerable period of time". Another student came to her help, and they reported him to the administration. "And it became physical". The report said this prompted the teacher's "departure from the school at the end of that academic year". The abuser retired from Kent in 2013.

A letter to the Choate community from two school leaders says the report "devastating to read".

"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", the investigation found. "We extend our deepest apologies most specifically to all survivors of sexual misconduct and their loved ones".

Montgomery described the report as an important step, but said there was much more work to be done.

"These things were really embedded in the culture, and not just at Choate", she said.