The Thacher School, among California’s most elite private schools, acknowledged Wednesday decades of allegations of student sexual misconduct, harassment and “boundary crossing” by faculty members at the $64,700-a-year Ojai boarding academy.
In an extraordinary public disclosure, the allegations at the exclusive school were compiled in a report posted on its website. In it, attorneys hired by Thacher laid out episodes of alleged rape, groping, unwanted touching and inappropriate comments dating back 40 years in a level of detail surprising for a private institution. The 90-page document identified six alleged perpetrators by name and recounted in lengthy passages the accusations of misconduct — and alleged efforts by former school administrators to cover up complaints and blame teenage victims.
In the most serious episode described, an alumna from the 1980s accused her high school English teacher of repeatedly raping her, starting when she was 16. The school did not call police, but dispatched a male assistant headmaster who reportedly asked the girl if she “enjoyed” the sex, the report said. The counselor later included her “unfortunate involvement with a faculty member” in a letter of recommendation for college.
The report was completed by the Los Angeles law firm Munger, Tolles & Olson, which the school’s trustees hired in August to conduct an investigation spurred by an alumni social media campaign that included the Instagram account @rpecultureatthacher. The account described itself as “a safe space” for those victimized at the school and led to the law firm’s inquiry, which included interviews with more than 120 former students, parents, and current and former faculty and staff.
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