Thacher, a California Prep School, Apologizes for Past Sex Abuse

Several college members on the non-public, coed Thacher School in California sexually abused and harassed college students or engaged in inappropriate relationships with them, in response to a report launched by the college, which detailed allegations that went again to the 1980s.

In one harrowing case, a instructor allegedly raped a 16-year-old pupil, then continued to abuse her for at the least a 12 months. Other college students and oldsters described inappropriate touching by a headmaster.

In one other case, a former pupil instructed investigators that she and her roommate had reported that two male college students had sexually assaulted them of their room on the boarding college within the 1990s, the report mentioned.

The 91-page report, launched on Wednesday, mentioned college students instructed investigators that their complaints have been met with indifference and disgrace by directors on the faculty preparatory college for grades 9 via 12 in Ojai, a metropolis of about 7,400 in Ventura County.

The college’s board of trustees commissioned an investigation after the college mentioned it obtained experiences of sexual misconduct in the summertime of 2020.

The report, which was ready by the legislation agency Munger, Tolles & Olson of Los Angeles, is graphic at instances in its descriptions of the abuse that former college students mentioned they suffered. It mentioned the findings have been primarily based on interviews with 120 former Thacher college students, dad and mom, and present and former college members, employees members, directors and board members.

The head of the college, Blossom Beatty Pidduck, apologized to college students and alumni in a letter that was posted on the school’s website, along with the report.

“I am deeply sorry for the ways we — your School — failed you, and for the hurt and harm that failure has wrought,” she wrote. “While these failures should never have been, they can now become our profound teachers, helping us to see clearly so that we can take action to create what must be, a community where all students are safe and nurtured.”

The findings by the legislation agency echoed accusations which have roiled different prep faculties across the nation within the final decade.

In 2016, at the least eight faculties throughout New England, together with St. George’s School in Rhode Island and the Taft School in Connecticut, mentioned they have been investigating instances of misconduct, according to The Boston Globe. St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H., was described as a “haven for sexual predators” in a lawsuit filed in 2018.

In 2013, the Horace Mann School in New York reached a settlement totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars with former college students who mentioned they have been sexually abused by employees members from the 1970s to the 1990s.

Dan Yih, the chair of the Thacher board of trustees, mentioned the report “makes clear” that the board, the college and directors failed to guard the scholars on the college.

“We have learned a great deal about our history over the past several months — much of which has been difficult to confront,” he wrote.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office obtained a copy of the report from the college on Wednesday, and investigators are reviewing the allegations, Capt. Eric Buschow, a spokesman for the division, mentioned.

“They’ve evaluating each incident to see if it’s a crime and if it’s within statute and to see if an investigation can even be done at this point,” he mentioned.

The report named six former college members, together with an English instructor who it mentioned sexually assaulted a 16-year-old sophomore simply earlier than she went on a tenting journey initially of the college 12 months.

The former pupil mentioned within the report that after the assault, “I bled for an entire week.”

“I was alone in the woods with my classmates with no comfort or support,” she mentioned.

The instructor continued to abuse her and sexually assault her for the remainder of the 12 months and into her junior 12 months, she mentioned. He grew to become violent, she mentioned, as soon as throwing her throughout a room so arduous that she was knocked unconscious.

“For me, there was no escape,” she mentioned, in response to the report.

When she spoke to the assistant headmaster concerning the sexual abuse, she mentioned he pressed her for “specific details” and requested her if she “enjoyed” it, the report said.

The report additionally described the accounts of a former pupil who mentioned she and her roommate have been sexually assaulted by two male college students within the 1990s when she was a senior.

The boys got here into their room whereas they have been sleeping and compelled them to have intercourse even after the ladies repeatedly mentioned no and instructed them to depart, the previous pupil instructed investigators.

When the ladies complained, the pinnacle of the college on the time, Michael Mulligan, allegedly instructed them “they did not have a leg to stand on because they did not do enough to stop the boys,” in response to the report.

Mr. Mulligan, who was interviewed by attorneys for the agency, mentioned within the report that he recalled assembly with the scholars, however didn’t bear in mind both of them saying they’d been sexually assaulted.

In an open letter to the college dated June 12, Mr. Mulligan mentioned he was “heartsick” over the “experiences” that many former college students described.

“I particularly regret situations where certain decisions I made contributed to this suffering, and I fully accept that criticism,” he wrote in the letter. “I am genuinely sorry.”

The report contains accounts from different college students and oldsters who described one headmaster who was usually drunk and touched women on their thighs and buttocks.

On tenting journeys, the headmaster, who died in 2014, “would encourage female students to put on bikini shows for the boys,” in response to the report.

Some of the college members resigned or have been fired after the allegations surfaced, in response to the report.

One former faculty counselor who was fired in 1997 after groping a pupil went on to work at different prep faculties, in response to the report. Investigators for the legislation agency reached out to the counselor to ask him about that and allegations of sexual misconduct with different feminine college students.

He declined to be interviewed, however in an e-mail to the investigators he mentioned he was “rightfully fired” and had felt “deep shame and regret” ever since.

“I have been very happily married for over 22 years, have a daughter in college, and live now in a quiet, simple retirement where the garden or a walk is generally the most exciting part of my days,” he wrote. “That is enough.”

Mr. Yih inspired college students and alumni to proceed to come back ahead with allegations.

He wrote, “We recognize that the pain and trauma that survivors experienced is real and long-lasting.”

Source link