Teacher continued to work despite assault claims

  • Teacher continued to work despite assault claims

Teacher continued to work despite assault claims

In a report released Thursday, Choate Rosemary Hall names 12 former faculty members at the CT boarding school who allegedly sexually assaulted or abused students dating to the 1960s.

In a report sent to Choate's Board of Trustees on Thursday, independent investigator Nancy Kestenbaum documents claims of sexual abuse made by 24 students, beginning in the 1960s and into the 2010s.

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.

"They described Choate faculty and staff engaging in acts with them that included intimate kissing, intimate touching and sexual intercourse".

The investigation did not find any reports related to current students or substantiate any reports against current faculty. "In other cases, it was slower to respond and allowed the faculty member to remain at the school", the report said.

Following the presentation of the report, the school released a letter to the Choate community that says, in part, that "the detailed content of this report is devastating to read". "We extend our deepest apologies most specifically to all survivors of sexual misconduct and their loved ones".

William Cobbett, a faculty member from 1969-2010, was accused by a student of physically and emotionally coercing her into a sexual relationship in the mid 1990s, but she never reported the incident.

According to the report, sexual misconduct matters were handled internally and quietly and in almost all of the incidents detailed in the report, the faculty or staff members accused of sexual misconduct were usually required to leave the school by resigning.

The report names 12 adults previously affiliated with the school who engaged in sexual misconduct with students during that period.

"Our interviews and school records showed that sometimes the school moved quickly and decisively", the report said.

"We believe a commitment to constantly improving standards will provide more understanding and protection for our students", she said.

The report's description of the aftermath of the alleged Costa Rica incident was particularly disturbing. The student reported the incident to the school, which investigated it and and initially chose 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. But he went on to teach or be an administrator at schools including Henry Abbott Technical High School in Danbury; Harrison High School in Harrison, New York; and Newtown High School and Wamogo Regional High School in Litchfield, Connecticut.

An attorney for Cobbett told investigators the former teacher had no memory of accusations relating to sexual misconduct.

In a statement, Choate said "we profoundly apologize".

'We hope that through this report, our community can address the issue of adult sexual misconduct in a frank and direct manner, ' a letter written by Michael J. Carr, the chairman of the board of trustees, and Alex D. Curtis, the headmaster said.

Alleged witnesses, all former students, told investigators that the teacher began touching her sexually before removing his shorts and forcing her to have sex in the vicinity of other students. The alleged assaults occurred while the teacher was the on-site Choate faculty leader of a study overseas program in San José, Costa Rica.