Scandalous sexual abuse and rape committed by teachers against students at the exclusive private Thacher boarding school in Ojai, California, was revealed by a law firm after months of investigation.
The 91-page report details the nightmare suffered by the boys and girls, which spanned 40 years, including the case of a 16-year-old pupil repeatedly raped by a former English teacher in the 1980s, noted the Daily Mail of June 17.
The prestigious high school’s leadership appears to have become aware of the abuse through anonymous accounts victims made via an Instagram account, according to Los Angeles-based law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, in the summer of 2020.
In August of that year, the board of trustees, through its chairman, Daniel Yih, ordered the independent investigation, which ran for 10 months.
In that time, lawyers interviewed “120 former students and parents, current and former faculty, staff and board members, some repeatedly, and reviewed 40,000 documents,” according to author Snejana Farberov.
The victims’ names were protected out of respect for their privacy, but the names of at least six professors and staff members were learned, none of whom have been criminally charged so far.
They include former school principal Willard Wyman, who resigned in 1992 and died 12 years later. Wyman was accused of inappropriate touching and making inappropriate comments, according to the Daily Mail.
A student who was raped from the age of 16 for more than a year by the former English and sports teacher described her tragic episode, saying, “It was a horrible, terrifying, desperate time.”
She recounted her despair, writing, “I destroyed my dorm room on multiple occasions but never had even the slightest reprimand … For me, there was no escape,” according to the New York Post.
In addition to the rapes, she was subjected to beatings and physical abuse that once rendered her unconscious. She was then induced to take drugs along with other classmates to keep them ‘controlled’ by her torturer.
Finally, she told her mother, who went to the school authorities, who induced her to desist from making legal accusations because “the best thing for her daughter would be not to press charges, since that would isolate her even more from her classmates,” as they argued.
Additionally, they blackmailed her, saying that she would be admitted back to school if she did not denounce the subject. Despite not doing so, the girl was the victim of retaliation by her colleagues and classmates, who believed that the relationship was consensual and blamed her for the teacher’s departure.
In addition to this case, there were many others, involving other teachers, managers and students.
After obtaining the report from the investigating law firm, Board Chairman Yih apologized to the abuse survivors and promised corrective measures to prevent such abuse in the future.
For their part, the authorities are reviewing the complaints. “We are going to look into them on a case-by-case basis,” said Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sergeant Hector Macias.
He added: “We are going to continue to work with the school and their law office in order to vet some of this out and see if the victims are willing to cooperate,” the Los Angeles Times reported.