US elite school Choate Rosemary Hall 'sorry' over sexual abuse

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Image caption, Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut has apologised after acknowledging years of abuse

Students at an elite boarding school in the US were sexually abused by at least 12 members of staff over a period of four decades, according to a report.

Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut, which includes former President John F Kennedy among its alumni, published the findings following an investigation.

Allegations of abuse dating from the 1960s were handled internally at the school, the report said.

The school acknowledged the findings, adding: "We profoundly apologise."

"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 said.

The apology comes after the boarding school, which US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka also attended, launched an independent investigation into historic reports of "adult sexual misconduct with students".

It said that after asking people to come forward with information relating to the allegations, it "received numerous calls and emails".

The earliest incidents recorded concerned conduct from the early 1960s, with faculty members at the school allegedly abusing students until as recently as 2010.

The greatest number of recorded incidents took place in the 1980s, according to the report.

There were no reports of sexual misconduct involving current members of staff.

In an incident reported in 1999, a Spanish language teacher is alleged to have raped a 17-year-old female student in a swimming pool during a school trip abroad, the report said.

In some instances the school, which dealt with the misconduct internally rather than involving the police, "moved quickly and decisively," the report said. But in other cases, it was "slow to respond" and allowed the accused member of staff to "remain at the school for a considerable length of time".

"Many of the Choate graduates who reported incidents to us did not tell any adult at the school at the time of the incidents," it added.

The school said that some students did not report the abuse because they did not recognise it as such or "did not want the school to find out".

The investigation found that the school knew that faculty members engaged in "intimate kissing" and "intimate touching" with male and female students, but reported none of the incidents to police.

"Our investigation further showed that when reports of sexual misconduct were substantiated by the Choate administration, sexual misconduct matters were handled internally and quietly.

"Even when a teacher was terminated or resigned in the middle of the school year 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 and, when told, was cautioned to say nothing about the situation if asked."

The school said that it had released the report to fulfil its "pledge to be at the forefront of the highest standard of care in preventing and addressing adult sexual misconduct".

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