US classroom
Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut has apologises over decades of sexual abuse - Representatinal image REUTERS/Michelle McLoughlin

An elite school in the US, whose alumni include former president John F Kennedy and President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump, has apologised over sexual misconduct cases that took place in its premises over a period of four decades.

Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut has also acknowledged at least 12 members of its staff had abused students. Some of the sexual misconduct cases date back to the 1960s, a report has said.

"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 boarding school said.

The apology from the school came after it launched an independent investigation into reports of "adult sexual misconduct with students". The school "received numerous calls and emails" after asking people to come forward and speak against the abuses.

According to the report, the earliest instance of staff members abusing students was reported in 1960s. The school said it received a "handful of reports of sexual misconduct" in the 2010s. Number of sexual misconduct allegations peaked in 1980s, it said.

The report was prepared by an independent investigator for the board of school trustees. It found a case where a student reportedly contracted herpes from her English teacher, according to New York Times. Another 17-year-old student was reportedly raped in 1999 by a Spanish language teacher. There were also allegations of "intimate kissing" and "intimate touching".

There were no instances of sexual misconduct by the school's current staff members, the report said.

During the investigation, it was also found that the school knew about the abuse but it did not report it to police and handled the cases internally, reports BBC.

"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 findings said.

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