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Prosecutors say too much time has passed to prosecute abuse allegations at Ventura County school

Bill Oxford
A Santa Barbara County man has been convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the death someone trying to break up a confrontation.

They blast Thatcher School's handling of situation, noting it failed to notify authorities for months.

Ventura County prosecutors say criminal charges won’t be pursued in connection with an investigation into a string of sexual abuse allegations involving a renowned private school.

In August 2021, Thatcher School officials notified the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office there were allegations of abuse at the Ojai Valley school dating back decades. Sheriff’s detectives and the Ventura County DA’s office jointly handled the investigation. But, they determined that the statue of limitations had expired in virtually all of the potential 100 cases.

Three were ultimately submitted to the DA’s office, but again, charges weren’t filed because of the statute of limitations. They also determined too much time had passed to pursue some recent abuse charges unrelated to the decades old incidents.

But, prosecutors blasted Thatcher’s handling of the situation. They noted that instead of immediately notifying authorities, the school hired a private law firm which did a several month long internal investigation. They say it hampered their efforts, with some potential suspects refusing to talk to the County’s investigators.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.