No charges filed in elite school sex abuse investigation

Ventura County Sheriff's Office
Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Ventura County Sheriff’s Office

No charges filed in elite school sex abuse investigation

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No criminal charges have been filed over complaints of sexual misconduct stretching back decades at an elite private boarding school in southern California, but law enforcement says that doesn’t mean children weren’t victimized.

More than 100 cases of sexual abuse dating back to the 1960s were investigated at The Thacher School, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, which says a few cases even “became known during the 2021 school year.”

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Ventura County sheriff’s deputies and Ventura County District Attorney’s Office prosecutors said Wednesday they completed the 18-month investigation, with problems such as the statute of limitations expiring preventing them from filing charges. Additionally, in 43 cases, the victims couldn’t be reached or declined to participate, while in another 30, investigators found no crime had occurred, the Ventura County Star reported the sheriff’s office said.

However, Deputy District Attorney Brent Nibecker said that shouldn’t diminish the disconcerting history of Thacher.

“Our inability to bring charges should not be seen as endorsing what happened over the years at Thacher,” Nibecker said. “Numerous children were victimized. Adults entrusted with their care violated that trust.”

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In a report published in June 2021 by Thacher, attorneys hired by the school in August 2020 detailed alleged rape, groping, unwanted touching, and inappropriate comments, according to the Los Angeles Times. The 90-page document identified six alleged culprits by name, according to the Los Angeles Times, “even detailing alleged efforts by former school administrators to cover up complaints and blame teenage victims,” including an alumna from the 1980s claiming her former teacher repeatedly raped her, beginning when she was 16.

The exclusive boarding school is located in Ojai, California, northwest of Los Angeles. The sheriff’s office says that even with the lack of charges in the case, victims of previously unreported sexual assault crimes at Thacher or elsewhere “are strongly encouraged to report these crimes to law enforcement.”

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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