UPDATE: Former McCallie employee accused of molestation
Prosecutors have released new details about the accusations against a former San Diego County boarding school administrator accused of molesting students, saying he gave his victims drug-laced brownies.
Jeffrey Barton, 55, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 16 felony charges, including oral copulation and forced sodomy.
Barton was a top administrator at the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad.
Barton worked at both the McCallie Boarding School for Boys in Chattanooga and the Aiken Preparatory Boarding School for Boys in Aiken, South Carolina.
"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," Prior said.
"It doesn't get more serious than this."
Prior said the victims are now between 28 and 42 years old. She said they were too ashamed to report the alleged crimes when they happened.
"Most victims keep this a secret forever," Prior said.
Prior said the alleged incidents took place in Barton's private cottage at the Army and Navy Academy, in his car, in his office and on overnight trips.
In one of the charges, Prior said Barton used drug-laced baked goods to incapacitate his victims and that his brownies became known around campus.
In court, Barton's attorney Jim Pokorney said his client is not a risk to public safety and should be released without bail.
"He's got no priors, not even a traffic ticket," Pokorney said.
"He holds the justice system very high."
The judge set Barton's bail at $3 million.
If convicted, Barton faces life in prison. He is expected to be back in court next week to try to reduce his bail.
Carlsbad Police believe there could be more victims. Anyone with information is asked to call the police hotline at (760) 931-2276.
Prior said another alleged victim has come forward since the charges were announced, but further details regarding that new victim were not released.
UPDATE: McCallie responded to the story of Barton's charges with the following letter, which was sent to parents:
Criminal Investigation of Former McCallie Employee
It has come to our attention that a former McCallie employee, Jeff Barton, has been arrested in California and charged with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor. Several reports in California and locally make reference to Mr. Barton's time at McCallie and to accusations made against him during his time here.
The incident involving Mr. Barton while he was an employee at McCallie occurred 20 years ago. In 1993, a student informed the school of the incident, at which time the school reported the matter to child protective services, and Mr. Barton was immediately suspended. Ultimately, and due to reasons beyond the school's control, charges were not filed against Mr. Barton. The school, however, proceeded to terminate Mr. Barton's employment.
At the time, McCallie fully and proactively cooperated with local authorities. More recently, we have been cooperating with the California authorities in the ongoing hope that justice will be served.
To summarize: In 1993, a single McCallie student informed the school of an incident involving Mr. Barton. The school acted swiftly, first suspending the employee, then reporting the matter to authorities and terminating Mr. Barton's employment.
In 1993 as today, the safety of our boys remains paramount. McCallie has clear policies in place to protect its students to the best of our ability.
HONOR. TRUTH. DUTY.
Billy T. Faires
Director of Communications