Former employee at Carlsbad military boarding school pleads not guilty to sexual assault charges
Jeffery Barton being held on $3 million bail
Last Updated: 45 days ago
VISTA, Calif. - A former Carlsbad military boarding school administrator charged with sexually assaulting two of his students pleaded not guilty Wednesday to 16 forcible sex counts.
Jeffery S. Barton, 55, was ordered held on $3 million bail.
Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior alleged that Barton victimized a total of six boys, including the two named in the criminal complaint. The alleged sexual assaults took place between 1997 and 2001, according to the criminal complaint.
Those two alleged victims were middle school cadets from the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, and the other four were from Army Navy and Barton's previous places of employment -- McCallie Boarding School for Boys in Tennessee and Aiken Preparatory Boarding School for boys in South Carolina, according to the prosecutor.
He was allegedly fired from McCallie for fondling boys, but Barton and the school settled. 10News learned the settlement indicated the school could not say why he was fired.
"The defendant's pattern of abuse has spanned three different decades, three separate boarding schools, seven separate school years where the defendant was in a position of trust to each of his middle school-aged boy victims," Prior told reporters.
"The defendant had unfettered access to boys (at Army Navy) in his positions as a home room teacher, swim coach, activities director, summer camp director, and then was promoted to head of the lower schools and ultimately the head of both the lower and upper schools, " the prosecutor said. "The defendant was one of the top-ranking officials in the entire administration. He had a key to every single cadet boy's dorm room."
Prior said Barton was known as "the creeper" and for giving his victims drug-laced brownies that caused them to black out.
In arguing for lower bail, defense attorney James Pokorny told a judge that Barton was a "zero" flight risk, according to pretrial services. The attorney called Barton a devoted and well-loved educator.
Pokorny spoke to reporters outside the courtroom.
"We believe that what the evidence is going to show is that it's a shakedown of the (Army Navy) school," he said. "There's going to be a civil suit, or suits, that follow this. Already our investigation has learned that the sister of one of these victims initialized in the complaint got fired by the school. She's got every reason to seek her revenge against the school. Monetary revenge."
Barton worked at Army and Navy Academy, a college-preparatory school, from 1995 until earlier this year.
An investigation was launched in June, when a former student, now an adult, told authorities he was victimized by Barton, Carlsbad police Lt. Marc Reno said. Detectives subsequently identified the other alleged victims, including one who came forward to police Tuesday morning after seeing news reports on the case.
The latest victim claims Barton molested him when Barton worked at Aiken Preperatory Boarding School for Boys in Aiken, South Carolina. Prior said Barton was employed in Aiken from 1983 to 1985.
Barton, who faces oral copulation and sodomy charges, faces life in prison if convicted. He will be back in court Oct. 29 for a bail review. The judge also scheduled a Dec. 20 readiness conference and Feb. 24 preliminary hearing.
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