Skip To Main Content

Covington Report

academic quad buildings

At Branson we take our commitment to student safety and well-being seriously.

In June 2018, three alumnae from the 1970s reported they were sexually abused by a former employee at the school while they were students at Branson. These allegations of abuse by a former Branson employee are profoundly upsetting. School administration immediately reported two of the alleged incidents to local law enforcement agencies in a manner that protected their anonymity. The third alumna reported the sexual abuse of the former Branson employee directly to the police herself, and we followed up with our own report.

The Board of Trustees retained two attorneys, Nancy Kestenbaum and Clara Shin, from the law firm of Covington & Burling LLP to conduct a thorough and independent investigation into the specific reports recently received by Branson, to receive and investigate any new reports of adult sexual misconduct against any student by Branson faculty or staff, and to do additional investigation or follow-up as Ms. Kestenbaum and Ms. Shin deemed necessary. They had full access to Branson's files, records, and personnel in the course of their investigation. Ms. Kestenbaum and Ms. Shin have extensive and relevant investigative experience: Ms. Kestenbaum led the investigations concerning sexual misconduct undertaken by Choate Rosemary Hall and The Brearley School, and Ms. Shin participated in the recent cultural review undertaken by Uber. They have no direct connections with Branson, and they and their firm had not represented the school previously.

We respectfully encourage anyone who experienced, or is aware of, any sexual misconduct by any faculty or staff member that occurred during their time at Branson, or anyone who has information that may assist us in our investigation, to please contact Michelle Jones, Branson's Director of Human Resources, at or 415-455-7126. The identity of anyone who reports information to this counsel will be handled as confidentially as the reporter wishes, and will not be shared without the reporter's consent –except as mandated by law or where, in counsel's judgment, a report should be made to protect a minor from harm.

Protecting the safety, welfare, and health of our students is, and always will be, our primary concern each and every day. It is clear that long-past transgressions can cause current pain and anguish, and we want to express our sorrow and support for members of our community who may be suffering. To that end, the Board has established a support fund (more information below) that is available to alumni to financially support any therapy or counseling they may need or desire as a result of adult sexual misconduct they experienced while students at Branson.

Our Commitment

Letters to the Community

File a Report

To file a report, please contact Michelle Jones, Director of Human Resources, or 415-455-7126

Reporting Resources

Local and national resources for survivors of sexual abuse or assault

Branson Staff and Personnel

Local Resources

  • Ross Police Department: 415-453-2727
  • Bay Area Women Against Rape: 510-845-7273
  • CA Coalition Against Sexual Assault: 661-327-1091 or 800-273-7713,
  • Charis Denison: Sexual Abuse counselor and educator,, 415-819-2272.
  • Bay Area Women Against Rape: Hotline: 510-845-7273

National Resources

  • Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN):
  • National Sexual Assault Hotline: 800-656-4673
  • National Sexual Violence Resource Center:
  • National Center for Victims of Crime:
  • Information on male sexual abuse: