Elite California school avoids charges in sexual abuse investigation

 December 29, 2022

According to the Washington Examiner, no criminal charges have been filed against The Thacher School despite sexual abuse allegations that span decades. 

According to the investigators, this does not, however, mean that no wrongdoing occurred.

For those unfamiliar with Thacher, it is an elite, private, college preparatory boarding school for grades nine through 12 that is located in Ojai, California.

In June 2021, the Los Angeles Times published a report detailing Thacher's acknowledgment, at the time, of "decades of allegations of student sexual misconduct, harassment, and 'boundary crossing' by faculty members."

The report

Thacher acknowledged the allegations in a 90-page report that it posted to its website. The report was compiled by the Los Angeles law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson.

According to the Times, "in it, attorneys hired by Thacher laid out episodes of alleged rape, groping, unwanted touching, and inappropriate comments dating back 40 years in a level of detail surprising for a private institution."

The outlet adds that "the 90-page document identified six alleged perpetrators by name and recounted in lengthy passages the accusations of misconduct — and alleged efforts by former school administrators to cover up complaints and blame teenage victims."

At the time that the article was written, the Times reported that "no one accused in the report has been charged."

But, the outlet noted that "authorities in Ventura County . . . are in the process of reviewing the incidents."

The latest

Now, it appears that the Ventura County Sheriff's Office has completed its investigation, which has lasted about 18 months. According to the Examiner, the sheriff's office investigated over 100 cases of sexual abuse that date back to the 1960s.

But, the sheriff's office has not decided to file any charges. The Examiner explains why, reporting:

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 investigators, however, are insisting that this doesn't mean that wrongdoing didn't occur.

Deputy District Attorney Brent Nibecker put out a statement, saying:

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

Unfortunately, it appears to be a situation of too little, too late.

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