No Charges in California Elite School Sex Abuse Investigation

OHJAI, Calif. (AP) — No criminal charges will be filed after decades of alleged sexual misconduct at an elite Southern California private high school have killed “several” children. officials said Wednesday.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and county district attorney’s office announced they have completed an 18-month investigation into more than 100 allegations of sexual abuse at Thatcher School in Ojai, northwest of Los Angeles.

But most of the cases are decades old, some dating back to the 1960s, and the statute of limitations on the charges has already expired, the DA’s office and the sheriff’s department jointly said. news release.

In 43 cases, victims could not be contacted or refused to participate, while in another 30 investigators determined no crime had occurred. According to Ryan Clarke, Ventura County Star.

Only three cases were brought to the District Attorney’s Office for possible prosecution last year, but the statutes of limitations had expired so they could not be prosecuted, the press release said.

Other cases were not submitted to the DA’s office because they were “clearly outside the statute of limitations and the victims failed to seek prosecution or prove a crime.”

According to Starr, Deputy District Attorney Brent Nivecker said, “Just because we failed to prosecute shouldn’t be taken as an endorsement of what happened over the years with Thatcher.” Children have fallen victim, and the adults entrusted with their care have betrayed their trust.”

Last year, Thatcher School released a 90-page report by the law firm it hired to investigate allegations made in its alumni’s social media campaigns.of report The Los Angeles Times reported at the time detailed episodes of rape, molestation, unwanted touching and inappropriate comments dating back 40 years.

It described alleged efforts by former administrators to identify six alleged perpetrators, cover up complaints, and blame victims.

County officials said the Thatcher School cooperated, but said the school’s decision to order an independent investigation and make the results public hampered the criminal investigation.

According to a press release, some publicly identified suspects have refused to be interviewed, questioned their attorneys, or taken steps to avoid contact with law enforcement altogether.

Daniel W. Yih, chairman of Thacher’s steering committee, wrote in a letter accompanying the report that the accused were not yet employed by the school.

“We offer our deepest apologies to the survivors of sexual misconduct in our community and their families,” Yih wrote.

The board admitted that failure to provide proper supervision had a “severe” effect on the student.

“Many people were permanently harmed not only by sexual misconduct per se, but also by how schools deal with misconduct,” the trustee said in a statement.

Despite no charges being filed, the DA’s office “strongly urged” victims of the unreported sexual assault in Thatcher to contact law enforcement, the press release said.