Former McCallie employee facing sex charges - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Former McCallie employee facing sex charges

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A developing story tonight, involving a former private school employee, who is facing 16 counts of forcible sex acts.

Prosecutors say the alleged incidents happened over a period of several years.

"There are six victims in this case, spanning three separate decades, three separate boarding schools, seven separate school years, all when the defendant was in a position of trust to his victims," says Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior.

One of the incidents happened right here in Chattanooga.

Jeffrey Barton is being held on a 3-million dollar bond in San Diego, accused of molesting six students and giving them drug-laced brownies.

Barton was the McCallie student activities director from 1988 until 1993.

School administrators would not go on camera, but say 20 years later, they are very careful about who they hire.

McCallie officials confirm that in 1993, an 8th grade boy reported being fondled by Jeff Barton.

The private school says they reported it to child protective services, and Mr. Barton was immediately suspended.

Because of reasons beyond their control, McCallie says no charges were filed, however they terminated Mr. Barton's employment.

On Thursday, McCallie officials sent a letter to parents notifying them of Barton's recent arrest in San Diego, and his past at the school.

Administrators assured parents that students are in a safe environment.

They tell Channel 3 they re-evaluate their hiring process every year and that all of their staff go through a thorough interview process, complete with a criminal background check, regardless of whether they are part-time or full-time employees.
Officials from McCallie tell us the campus is regularly evaluated to ensure safety of their students, including windows and visibility in almost every accessible space on campus, as well as security in all key areas.

McCallie officials tell us that none of the Administration from 1993 is still at the school.

Barton has pleaded not guilty to the 16 felony charges, including forced sodomy.

If convicted, Barton faces life in prison. He's expected back in court next week.

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