Choate Rosemary Hall Addresses Reports of Sexual Misconduct

Choate Rosemary Hall, an independent boarding school in Wallingford, Conn., published a report regarding a recent investigation held to examine accounts of adult sexual misconduct within their community. The investigation was launched after Cheyenne Montgomery, a former student at Choate during the 1990s, reported an account of sexual assault that she had experienced as a student in 1992, according to “The New York Times.”

After reexamining all accounts of sexual misconduct in its school history, Choate uncovered various sexual offenses, including those of 24 victims that were involved with 12 adults formerly affiliated with Choate, stated “The New York Times.”

Jennifer Elliott ’94, Dean of Students and Residential Life, said, “My thoughts are with the Choate community as it grapples with the painful information uncovered in its investigation. I hope the process serves to support survivors and to make all of our schools healthier and safer places for the students in our care.”

Investigations such as Choate’s have become more common in the boarding school community in the past decade. After Phillips Exeter Academy disclosed four faculty members that had allegations of sexual misconduct in March 2016, “The Boston Globe’s” Spotlight Team released an investigative report on sexual misconduct at New England boarding schools in May.

Soon after, Head of School John Palfrey sent an email to the Andover community announcing a similar investigation into Andover’s history of sexual misconduct conducted by the Sanghavi Law Office. The investigation eventually uncovered five cases of sexual misconduct against students in the 1970s and 1980s.

Choate’s report, published on April 13 and conducted by former prosecutor Nancy Kestenbaum, was sent out to the members of the Choate community while an apology was written by Michael Carr, Choate Class of ’76, and Headmaster Alex Curtis in response to the administration’s handling of the misconduct.

“This report therefore focuses on instances of sexual misconduct by Choate faculty and staff members. Consistent with the school’s policies dating back to the 1970s, which explicitly forbid ‘sexual relationships or deep emotional attachments’ with students, we have interpreted the term ‘sexual misconduct’ broadly and use that term in our report to include a range of inappropriate behaviors,” states the report.

The report ended by thanking those who came forward to give information and included ten other accounts of incidences that could not be sufficiently substantiated.

Sophia Baum ’19 said, “Choate made the right decision to uncover past cases of sexual assault. It not only provides justice for those that had to endure it, but also shows that Choate, like many other schools, takes responsibility for their actions. Choate’s courage to face these cases head on sets a good example for how other schools should handle cases of sexual assault.”

Abdu Donka ’18 expressed his concerns over the revelations cast onto the Choate community, and praised Choate for initiating the investigation.

“It’s frightening, at a place where students are supposed to trust adults. Those sexual misconduct allegations are cases where kids had trusted the adults and the adults abused that trust,” said Donka

“I feel as though it’s good that the schools are getting law firms to investigate this and to polish all the findings and send them out publicly. It’s very good that the schools are doing it now and actually acknowledging that there is a problem,” Donka continued.