Jun 24, 2021
For $64,700-a-year, parents can send their children to one of the most elite boarding schools in the country – The Thacher School – located in nearby Ojai, California. The student to teacher ratio at the private boarding school is reportedly 6:1, and the acceptance rate is around 12%. The Thacher School is often considered the most prestigious in the nation, and in 2016, Business Insider ranked the institution as the most selective boarding school in America.
But in a revealing Special Committee Report published yesterday by Thacher School officials, the school acknowledged decades of allegations over “student sexual misconduct, harassment, and ‘boundary crossing’ by faculty members.” The report clarifies that the term ‘sexual misconduct‘ is meant to encompass “a range of acts” including rape, sexual assault, and any form of unwanted touching and sexual harassment. In the report, attorneys hired by Thacher described instances of alleged rape, groping, unwanted touching, and inappropriate comments dating back as far as 40 years. The 90-page document was a shocking revelation for the elite private boarding school.
Six alleged perpetrators were identified by name in the committee report, with lengthy descriptions recounting the specific details of numerous allegations. The report also alleged concerted efforts by former Thacher administrators to cover up complaints and actually place blame on the teenage victims.
In one graphic recounting of a sexual assault incident, the report describes a 16-year-old female student who was repeatedly raped by her English teacher, identified as Tim Regan. The report indicated that Thacher did not contact the police, but rather a male assistant headmaster was dispatched to handle the matter. Per the report, the headmaster asked the survivor if she “enjoyed” the sex. After the incident, a counselor is said to have included a line noting the survivor’s “unfortunate involvement with a faculty member” in a recommendation letter written for the student’s college admission applications.
That 16-year-old student, described only as Student A in the official Thacher report, experienced physical and emotional distress. She was sexually abused multiple times per week, and the Thacher report indicated the English teacher repeatedly raped her throughout her sophomore year and into her junior year.
An unsent letter from Student A was included as evidence in the Thacher committee report. Student A described the repeated sexual abuse at the hands of the English teacher:
“When I tried to get away from him or showed any interest in a boy my age he would either tell me horrible lies about the person or he would try to publicly humiliate me in front of other students to remind me who was in charge. During Junior year he also became much more violent, often hitting me, once throwing me across a room so hard that I ended up on the other side of the bed unconscious. He also pulled my girlfriends into his circle of ‘people’ so that even if I did not want to go to his house all my friends did and I was left with nowhere to go or friends to be with unless I spent time with him. He introduced us all to drugs as a way of having control over us because ‘if anyone found out’ we, not he, would be in big trouble. It was a horrible, scary, hopeless time. I destroyed my dorm room on multiple occasions but never had even the slightest reprimand. No sign that I was in trouble ever was addressed by the School. For me, there was no escape,” Student A wrote.
Student A further described Regan coaching her and trying to convince her that they had a “love” relationship that was special. The English teacher also coached Student A to lie about the repeated sexual abuse, claiming that if she ever revealed it to Thacher authorities, “bad things” would happen.
Through discussions with investigators, Student A recounted that only one faculty member ever asked her directly about the interactions with teacher Tim Regan. But Student A denied anything inappropriate was taking place out of fear that Regan would retaliate.
Student A eloquently described how the systematic sexual atrocities that took place for decades at Thacher were allowed to continue as a result of such rare and indifferent inquiries by the faculty.
“I was the victim in the situation and he was the perpetrator,” Student A said to investigators, noting that a dedicated faculty suspecting misconduct would have taken further action.
“Adults need to recognize that because of the differences in power and role between adults and students, any type of sexual behavior toward young people creates in them tremendous conflict, embarrassment, and often silence,” Student A added.
After turning a blind eye to the sexual abuse and other incidents at Thacher for 40 years, the school finally conducted an investigation (which led to the report). Throughout the investigative process, over 120 former students, parents, and current and former faculty and staff from Thacher were interviewed.
To date, no one accused in the report – including Tim Regan, the English teacher accused of repeatedly raping Student A – has been charged with a crime. The Los Angeles Times reported that officials from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office are “in the process of reviewing the incident.”
“We are going to look into them on a case-by-case basis,” Sergeant Hector Macias told the Los Angeles Times regarding the allegations. “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.”
Given that the majority of the students at Thacher were likely minors, California’s AB 218 – the law allowing any survivor of childhood sexual abuse the opportunity to file a civil lawsuit – may apply for future suits.
A Thacher alumni social media campaign – including the Instagram account @rpecultureatthacher (for r*pe culture at Thacher) – is what reportedly incited the investigation that led to the committee report. The account describes itself as a “safe space for those who have experienced r*pe culture at Thacher” and specifically references sexual harassment, assault, and “r*pe.”
In a statement posted online, Thacher’s board of trustees acknowledged they failed to both enforce proper oversight and report alleged crimes to the proper authorities. The statement included the following passages:
In 2020, California Assembly Bill 218 (AB 218) took effect. The law offers survivors of childhood sexual abuse the unprecedented opportunity to file a civil lawsuit seeking financial compensation regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. In the case of Thacher, some of the abuse may have extended back 40 years or more.
That’s why AB 218 was passed – to toll the statute of limitations on childhood sex crimes and allow survivors to come forward and obtain justice on their own terms. Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) founder and former sex crimes prosecutor, Sam Dordulian, has referred to AB 218 as a sort of time machine allowing survivors of childhood sexual abuse the ability to secure justice for crimes that occurred many years ago.
But AB 218’s three-year lookback window – the clause that removes the statute of limitations – is only available for a limited time. Unfortunately, AB 218 expires at the end of 2022. That means survivors of childhood sexual abuse have only a few more months to officially file a claim.
If a claim is not filed, survivors will be left without any legal recourse when the statute of limitations resumes on January 1, 2023.
At DLG, we’ve helped countless survivors of childhood sexual abuse secure the justice they so deserve (and have waited on for so long). We’ve successfully taken on massive and powerful organizations like the Boy Scouts of America and Catholic Church, and we’re here to fight on your behalf when you’re ready to take that step towards justice.
Sexual abuse survivors like the students from Thacher deserve justice for the decades of wrongdoing that was committed through systematic negligence. The various abuse that occurred, whether by a teacher or classmate, can lead to lifelong trauma that is often debilitating. Survivors can require extensive psychological counseling and therapy while also having to suffer with diminished quality of life, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and so much more. Survivors of sexual abuse deserve to be financially compensated for such losses, and one of the best means for doing so is through a civil lawsuit that obtains justice.
When survivors of sexual abuse are ready to come forward and pursue justice on their own terms, DLG’s Sex Crimes Division offers a different kind of experience that is tailored to their myriad needs. DLG’s SAJE Team (Sexual Assault Justice Experts) provides survivors with four tiers of unique and all-encompassing support. The SAJE Team is more than just expert legal representation – it’s a 24/7 support network that addresses the multiple needs a survivor may face throughout the legal process.
Unlike other firms, at DLG we believe survivors deserve access to a number of resources beyond experienced and dedicated legal representation. DLG’s founder and president, Sam Dordulian, created the SAJE Team after his many years serving as a sex crimes prosecutor in the position of Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County. As a Deputy District Attorney and sex crimes prosecutor, Dordulian obtained life sentences against some of the city’s most heinous sexual predators.
While prosecuting sex offenders, Dordulian came to understand that sexual assault survivors have needs that extend beyond his legal expertise. When he founded DLG and started fighting for sexual assault survivors in civil court, Dordulian established the SAJE Team to ensure those needs of survivors were met. That’s why the SAJE Team includes resources like an in-house clinical therapist and two victim advocates who are available to survivors. Dordulian founded the premier and most resourceful sexual assault law firm in California, providing survivors with complete access to all four tiers of the SAJE Team 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
Every DLG sexual assault survivor client receives four-tiered representation and support:
With DLG, sexual abuse survivors receive the absolute best and most thorough legal representation and emotional support available. And you’ll be treated with the utmost personalized care, compassion, dedication, discretion, and professionalism to ensure the process is as smooth as possible.
When you contact us with your claim, we’ll listen to the facts of your case (we believe you), launch a thorough and professional investigation, develop a winning legal strategy based on our decades of experience and proven success, and file your claim timely and in accordance with all statute of limitations laws. We’re here to help you move forward on your own terms, and we’ll fight aggressively as your dedicated legal advocate to ensure you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve.
At DLG, we’ve maintained a 98% success record because of our dedication to each and every client and our past experience winning cases for survivors like you. Don’t put the critical responsibility of your sexual assault claim in the hands of an inexperienced or unproven law firm. It’s too important, and the ultimate outcome can have a dramatic impact on your ability to move forward and put this unfortunate event behind you forever. At DLG, we take that responsibility very seriously, which is evinced by our many satisfied client testimonials and past case results.
When Sam Dordulian founded DLG, his goal was to offer a unique kind of expert legal representation that also provided much-needed resources to survivors of sexual assault. After recovering more than $100,000,000 in settlements and verdicts, Dordulian and his team of dedicated SAJE Team professionals continue fighting for survivors and offering unique advantages that can’t be found anywhere else.
Contact us today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 to learn more about how DLG can help you win your sexual assault lawsuit and obtain the justice you deserve. We never settle for less than a maximum financial damages award, ensuring our clients are properly compensated for the trauma and harm caused by such unspeakable predators. When you’re ready to come forward and take the first step towards pursuing justice against your perpetrator, DLG is here to listen, to help guide you through the process, and to help you obtain that justice.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.