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Thacher School in Ojai Releases Report That Details Decades of Sexual Misconduct

The Thacher School of Ojai is widely considered one of California’s most elite private boarding schools. When it recently released a 90-page docket that detailed about 40 years of sexual abuse, harassment, and misconduct allegations, communities far and wide were shocked.

The sexual abuse allegations first came to light through a social media campaign organized by alumni of the boarding school. A private law firm then interviewed dozens of alumni, parents, faculty, and staff members to corroborate the stories being shared through the campaign. The findings of that firm’s extensive investigation are what make up the bulk of the 90-page sexual misconduct report.

Although many conclusions can be drawn from the massive report, the most striking one is that the faculty and administrative members of The Thacher School have mishandled sexual abuse allegations for decades. Not only were many reports ignored or brushed aside, but the report claims that administrators actively tried to hide certain complaints. At this time, at least six people have been named in the report as alleged sexual abusers, but none of them still hold employment at the boarding school.

Lawsuits to Form Against The Thacher School

A spokesperson for The Thacher School apologized to the “survivors of [the] sexual misconduct and their families” after the report was made public. The apology seems to indicate an admission of liability or guilt by the administration for failing to take enough action to investigate or prevent sexual abuse carried out by faculty or staff members or on the school grounds. Although statutes of limitations might protect some of the perpetrators from criminal charges, The Thacher School itself could still potentially face sexual abuse lawsuits from the survivors, many of whom are well into their adult lives now.

California allows for an extended statute of limitations on civil claims for sexual abuse when the victim was abused during their childhood and is now aged 26 to 40. A three-year added statute of limitations is also possible in cases where the regular statute of limitations has expired, but evidence of the sexual abuse has only recently been uncovered.

It is not known at this time how many survivors would be eligible or interested in filing a sexual abuse claim against The Thacher School. However, the plaintiffs could possibly sue the school for damages related mainly to the psychological trauma caused by the abuse and how it has impacted their lives ever since. With the boarding school’s endowment being estimated as close to $200 million, it would likely have difficulty in escaping the financial consequences of the lawsuits by saying it could not afford to pay the plaintiffs through a settlement or court-ordered award.

Call Crane Flores, LLP for Legal Counsel

Crane Flores, LLP can help you bring a lawsuit against The Thacher School if you were sexually abused at the boarding school within the last 40-odd years. You might have a valid lawsuit to file against the school, despite the large amount of time between the last incident of abuse and today. Our sexual abuse attorneys would be honored to help you explore your legal options at your pace. We know that the situation is sensitive and could bring up difficult memories, so we will never rush you to make a decision. You can also take comfort in knowing that all initial consultations are free and confidential.

We have offices in Oxnard, Ventura, and Santa Barbara for client convenience. Call (805) 628-4967 to find the one nearest you.

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