A former student of Oak Grove School is suing the Ojai private school and its father or mother nonprofit for failing to guard her from alleged sexual assault and abuse by a former teacher and masking up proof that he had sexually abused different college students.
Ventura County Sheriff’s deputies had arrested the teacher, Paul Herder on July 31, alleging he coerced a juvenile student into quite a few sexual acts and despatched “dangerous matter to the sufferer” over the course of an illegal five-year relationship from August 2013 by June 2017.
Herder, 65, was subsequently charged by the District Legal professional’s Workplace with 23 felonies, together with a number of counts of illegal intercourse, luring and varied sex-related crimes involving a minor. He has pleaded not responsible to all costs and has denied all particular allegations.
Herder stays housed on the county’s Todd Street Jail exterior Santa Paula and isn’t eligible for bail, jail information present.
Herder’s legal professional within the prison case, David Lehr, stated in an electronic mail final week there’s “little or no” he can say in regards to the case earlier than it’s resolved.
The separate civil lawsuit was filed Nov. 13, court docket information present.
A consultant for the school stated in an announcement final week that Oak Grove lately discovered of the civil swimsuit. Joel Keeler, director of development, wrote that the school had reported the student’s allegations to county Little one Protecting Companies and the sheriff’s Sexual Crimes Unit “instantly” after the former student instructed school workers in July.
Keeler wrote that the school continues to cooperate with regulation enforcement however couldn’t touch upon the case additional because of the ongoing investigation.
Oak Grove School is operated by the Ojai-based nonprofit Krishnamurti Basis of America, a part of a small world community established to assist protect and share the teachings of thinker and non secular teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti.
Krishnamurti spent a lot of his time in Ojai and died of cancer at his residence there in 1986. He based the small Oak Grove School in 1975, in line with the school’s web site. Immediately it combines boarding school and day school applications that serve just below 220 pre-Okay-12 college students.
Lawsuit describes allegations
Attorneys for the former student, now 24 and dwelling in Ojai, initially submitted the 14-page civil submitting to Ventura County Superior Courtroom on Nov. 9 below the identify Jane Doe.
The swimsuit describes her expertise of Herder’s alleged abuse and claims the school and basis “engaged in a concerted effort to cover proof” of different alleged sexual misconduct by Herder within the years earlier than she was allegedly assaulted.
David Ring, the lead legal professional within the civil swimsuit, stated the accusations are partially based mostly on data “floating round on the market” that Herder “had points” at a distinct Krishnamurti school in England earlier than he started instructing at Oak Grove in 2004.
“When there’s rumbling like that, it often seems to be true,” Ring stated. The agency plans to hunt extra data on Herder’s historical past in the course of the course of the case.
As of Monday evening, court docket information present, no legal professional of report was listed for any of the three defendants named within the civil case: Herder, Oak Grove and the Krishnamurti Basis.
The student had enrolled on the Okay-12 private school as a excessive school freshman for the 2013-14 12 months and met Herder on a tour of the campus.
The lawsuit alleges that on the finish of the student’s first 12 months, Herder kissed her on the cheek throughout a school meeting. The subsequent 12 months, he started giving her “particular consideration,” together with financial items and giving her lengthy hugs, generally within the presence of different workers.
Throughout her junior 12 months, the swimsuit claims, Herder escalated the eye, giving the student one in all his jackets to put on round campus, touching her on the leg throughout a school journey and suggesting they go on a date as soon as she turned 18.
Ring stated that at one level Herder instructed the former student that he had been confronted by school workers about his interactions together with her, however that the trouble had “died on the vine.”
“He was so near this lady and was round her a lot and had so many interactions together with her,” Ring stated. “How might they not discover? It is unattainable.”
Within the spring of 2016, the swimsuit alleges, “Herder’s grooming and manipulation of (the student) in the end resulted in him sexually abusing and assaulting her for the primary time.”
Herder left the school on the finish of that 12 months however continued to abuse the student for an additional 12 months, the swimsuit alleges. By the top of the 2016-17 school 12 months, Herder had sexually abused the student greater than 40 occasions, the doc claims.
It wasn’t till she was an grownup, Ring stated, that the student “realized what it was all about” and determined to inform school workers.
“She knew it was unsuitable and did not need him to get away with it,” Ring stated.
Isaiah Murtaugh covers training for the Ventura County Star in partnership with Report for America. Attain him at [email protected] or 805-437-0236 and observe him on Twitter @isaiahmurtaugh and @vcsschools. You may assist this work with a tax-deductible donation to Report for America.
This text initially appeared on Ventura County Star: Ojai private school sued over alleged teacher sexual abuse