Allegations of Sexual Abuse at Thacher School Stun Ojai Community

Empty Class Room

Allegations of decades of sexual abuse at the Thacher School in Ojai have stunned the local community.

Founded in 1889, the Thacher School is the oldest boarding school in the state of California – and one of the State’s most elite private institutions. Initially founded as a school for boys, girls were granted admission in 1977.

According to its founder, Sherman Day Thacher, “The aims of the place are thus in three directions: toward health and happiness, toward unselfish character, and toward accurate, thorough, and self-reliant habits of thought and study.” Certainly, the opulent campus located on 427-acres overlooking the Ojai Valley seems like the ideal setting for such lofty aims.

However, a recently released report details that for many students, the experience at the Thacher School was far from idyllic. Rather it was a horrifying, humiliating, and traumatizing environment where students suffered unwanted advances, inappropriate touching, groping, and even rape at the hands of teachers and faculty.

Allegations of sexual violence and abuse at the Thacher School date as far back as 1980, a short three years after girls were allowed to attend the school – and the most egregious among them (so far) includes the humiliation of a female student by the headmaster after she had suffered repeated acts of sexual violence from her English teacher. This was, according to the victim’s testimony and subsequent investigation by a law firm hired by the school, followed by a full-scale cover-up by school administrators and no real consequences for the alleged perpetrator. But consequences may be forthcoming, both civil and criminal.

The Los Angeles Times reports that, while no criminal charges have been brought against any of the alleged perpetrators, Ventura County police are looking into each allegation to determine the appropriate steps. A California Law passed in 2020 may allow criminal charges to be brought even though many of the alleged encounters have passed the statute of limitations.

Do You Need to Report Sexual Violence or Abuse?

Victims of sexual violence, particularly childhood sexual violence, often take years to report their experiences – and even with the passing of so much time, it takes incredible bravery to discuss these kinds of tragic and traumatic events. We are here to help you be brave.

If you were the victim of sexual abuse during childhood – or at any time in your life – and you are in need of a supportive advocate who will work to protect your rights and your person, we encourage you to contact our firm by using the form on this page or by calling us at 949-502-8600 to schedule a private and confidential consultation where we can discuss your rights, your options, and the best path forward. Your consultation with us is free of both cost and obligation, and can take place in any environment where you are most comfortable.

The Cifarelli Law Firm believes victims of sexual abuse. We take these allegations seriously and respond with appropriate action. If you need help, please reach out today. We serve victims of sexual violence and abuse living in Irvine, Orange County, the Greater Los Angeles area, and throughout California.

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