No criminal charges have been filed over recently revealed sex abuse allegations against staff at the elite Choate boarding school due to victims not coming forward and too many years having elapsed since the alleged incidents, local police say.
“There is nothing for us to act upon,” Wallingford Police Department Chief William Wright told the Meriden Journal, a local newspaper in Connecticut. Choate Rosemary Hall is located in Wallingford, Connecticut.
Wright told the newspaper police had analyzed each incident and determined the statute of limitation for filing criminal charges had expired for most of the cases.
According to the Wallingford police department, the statute of limitations has not expired for only two of the reported incidents, one in 2003 and one in 2010.
The Department of Children and Families contacted Wallingford police about the 2010 incident, but the victim never filed a police report.
Charges in those case could be filed if the victims came forward and file police reports, a spokesman for the police department said.
Choate recently released the report detailing its investigation into alleged sexual assaults by staff at the school. It indicated that some 24 victims reported sexual assaults by 12 staff members at the school, dating between 1963 and 2010.
The scandalous Choate report made international headlines. Allegations included that in 1999, former Choate Spanish teacher Jaime Rivera-Murillo was accused of allegedly forcing anal sex on a female student in a hotel pool during a school trip to Costa Rica.
He subsequently stepped down from his position at Choate but did not face criminal prosecution, and later went on to continue working as an educator and a principal for the next two decades. He stepped down from his position as principal at another high school this year, after the Choate report went public.
The Wallingford Police Department has since “conducted a thorough review of each incident individually,” according to a press release from the police department.
Only one incident, an alleged 1970 assault by teacher John Joseph, was reported to the police department. The report was made in 1996, after the statute of limitations expired and Joseph was deceased, police said.
Most of the alleged incidents occurred before 2002, and therefore were subject to a five-year statute of limitations in place on sexual assaults. Those that occurred outside the department’s jurisdiction, like the Costa Rica incident, can also not be charged.
The department faulted Choate for not following state law on mandatory reporting of sex crimes by educators. But those violations have also expired under the statute of limitations.
“The evidence is conclusive that Choate violated CGS 17a-101a,” the police department said of the mandatory law. The one-year statute of limitations for those violations has expired on all incidents that occurred prior to 2010. In 2011, violations of the “mandatory reporter” law were upgraded from being punishable by a fine to a misdemeanor offense.
“The Wallingford Police Department encourages those who feel they may have been a victim of a sexual assault crime to report the incident in a timely manner,” the police department said.
Also last week, two former headmasters at Choate resigned their positions as life trustees, Boston.com reported.
Charles Dey, headmaster from 1973 to 1991, and Edward Shanahan, headmaster from 1991 to 2011, both resigned.
Read Choate’s full report here. (Warning: graphic content).