Boarding School 

Sexual Abuse


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Jeffrey A. Preszler is a managing lawyer at Preszler Injury Lawyers and practices exclusively in the area of plaintiff personal injury law, including institutional sexual abuse claims. Jeffrey would be honoured to represent you.

Sexual contact between an adult and a minor includes any touching of sexual or intimate parts for the purpose of gratifying sexual desire of either individual.

This can include, but is not limited to:

Inappropriate touching

Requesting personal favors in exchange for "rewards"

Derogatory, sexual or racist comments

Inappropriate photographing

Physical threats to keep the behavior a secret

Anyone who experienced sexual abuse as a minor in a place that should have been a safe environment, such as a church or school, may be entitled to compensation.





Institutions are often quick to protect those who harmed innocent victims instead of those who were harmed. To them, the reputation of their organization is more important than the lives of their victims that are forever changed.

Thanks to the Ontario & British Columbia Limitations Act, survivors may be eligible for compensation for past incidents of harm that institutions may have tried to cover up.

Help for Institutional Harm Survivors

Pursuing justice isn’t just about getting financial compensation--It can be just as much about healing & moving forward. 

Survivors can get a free consultation with our legal team to find out if they qualify for compensation for their past suffering.

Decades of Sexual Abuse Allegations Uncovered at Elite Boarding Schools

Instances of sexual abuse in boarding schools throughout California have recently come to light. These elite schools advertise an excellent learning environment for students, but allegations claim that these schools failed to protect their students for decades.

Anyone who attended Cate School, Dunn School, Midland School, Santa Catalina School, or The Thacher School should speak with our legal team.

The Thacher School in Ojai published a 90-page Special Committee Report in June 2021 detailing decades of sexual abuse, revealing patterns of abuse. The school hired attorneys to compile this report investigating multiple instances of rape, inappropriate comments, unwanted touching, and groping dating back to the 80s. 

The document names six past faculty members, as well as many other unnamed instances of inappropriate conduct, and the school's mishandling of sexual abuse instances among students.

It's clear that the school's priority was to protect the school's reputation, even if that meant blaming and silencing teenage victims.

John Friborg

Served as Associate Director of Development, Director of College Counseling, Dean of Students, Dorm Head for the sophomore boys' dorm, Coached girls' and boys' soccer, and occasionally taught history

1987 - 1997

The Named Perpetrators

Timothy Regan

Taught English and Drama, Coached boys' lacrosse & baseball, and served as Dorm Head of Upper School

1985 - late 1980s

Regan groomed a female student starting her freshman year and began raping her multiple times a week when she was 16. When the student finally came forward, instead of calling the police, the male assistant headmaster asked the student if she "enjoyed" it, referring to the sexual abuse. The student was "advised by the school that her re-entry into the Thacher community would be jeopardized by any attempt on [her] part to prosecute since the teacher had been very popular with the students." Regan was asked to resign, but no explanation was ever given as to why. In a letter of recommendation, the counselor included her "unfortunate involvement with a faculty member."

Before working at Thacher, Friborg worked with future Head of School Michael Mulligan at The Governor's Academy. Friborg was asked to leave the school due to an inappropriate relationship with a senior on the girls' soccer team. Mulligan hired Friborg at Thacher knowing fully of the incident.

During his time at Thacher, Friborg was noticeably close to the girls' soccer players, which others referred to as "Fri's girls." It wasn't uncommon for Friborg to invite girls over to his home or to go on drives, and reportedly let at least one girl drive his car. 

At least seven girls were mentioned in the report. Friborg reportedly gave girls massages in his home, which turned into non-consensual touching of the students' breasts. Friborg resigned after students reported him. His resignation mentioned nothing of his misconduct and there is no record that it was ever reported to law enforcement.

Willard (Bill) Wymen

1975 - 1992

Served as Headmaster of The Thacher School

The timing of Wymen's resignation was controversial, and took place during allegations of sexual harassment. According to an Investigation Report in 1992, Wymen was known for:

  • "A pattern of offensive verbal conduct and improper touching"
  • "Extremely offensive sex jokes"
  • Commenting on female faculty members' bodies
  • Often touching adult women inappropriately

The report described 17 separate incidents of inappropriate comments and touching students inappropriately. His resignation in 1992 mentioned nothing of these sexual harassment allegations.

Derick Perry

1995 - 2021

Taught English, served as Dorm Head for Middle School and Lower School, Coached cross country, track & field, and girls' basketball, Served as Director of Annual Giving and Special Gifts, Director of  Major Gifts, and advisor to sophomore boys in the Los Padres dormitory

According to the Special Committee Report, Perry groomed a female student during her time at Thacher. She reports him holding her hand, sleeping next to her on a camping trip, and spending lots of extra time with her— even calling himself her "surrogate dad."

After she had graduated, he emailed her during her freshman year of college to ask about her sexual fantasies and experiences. "He detailed his own sexual fantasies and explicit discussion or orgasms and masturbation." He reportedly sent her numerous inappropriate and sexually explicit emails. When she was 19, he gave her alcohol and when she was drunk, pulled her onto his lap and touched her breasts.

Other reports of inappropriate behavior include:

  • Walking around girls' dorms drunk and entering rooms while girls were only wearing nightgowns
  • Being "overly touchy and huggy"and "handsy" with students
  • Being often intoxicated
  • Taking girls out to dinner to give them advice about boys, college and college boys

Perry resigned in June 2021. He has been prohibited from attending school functions, being alone with students, or being present at Thacher.

Dana Vancisin

Early 2010s - 2020

Served as horse faculty, student advisor and taught art

Vancisin had a boundary-crossing relationship with a senior boy, according to multiple witnesses. After the student graduated, they began a romantic relationship. Vancisin denied engaging in any sexual misconduct. Her departure from Thacher was "unrelated" to this conduct.

Rod "Jake" Jacobsen

1991 - 2020

Taught English, ethics, and public speaking, Served as Chair of the English Department and Dean of Faculty, Directed 27 dramatic productions

Jacobsen reportedly would rub students' shoulders, walk through freshmen dorms when the girls were showering, wore a bathrobe when students were at his house, was touchy, and made sexist and racist remarks. According to the anonymous Instagram reporting account, he asked a student "You're kinky, aren't you?"

If you were sexually abused at The Thacher School, contact us for a case evaluation - it’s completely free and confidential, and there’s no obligation to hire us. 

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Why Choose McNicholas & McNicholas?

Our family-owned firm has over three decades of experience handling sexual abuse cases.

Our attorneys’ combination of experience, teamwork, persistence and use of the most up-to-date resources to resolve complex and highly sensitive cases contribute to the firm’s winning culture. Handling each case with unmatched professionalism, we have achieved precedent-setting and record-breaking verdicts and settlements for clients, including a $30 million sexual abuse settlement on behalf of eight children and families.

If you were sexually abused at a boarding school in California, contact us for a case evaluation - it’s completely free and confidential, and there’s no obligation to hire us. 

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While disturbing to read, we believe it's important to show just how abusive and damaging the culture at Thacher has been for students. It is our hope that it will validate more survivors' experiences and encourage them to seek justice.

Instances of sexual abuse at other California boarding schools surfaced shortly after the Thacher report.

        Santa Catalina School - Monterey, CA

        Dunn School - Los Olivos, CA

        Midland School - Los Olivos, CA

        Cate School - Carpinteria, CA

Get A Free Case Evaluation

If you were sexually abused at a boarding school in California, contact us for a case evaluation - it’s completely free and confidential, and there’s no obligation to hire us.

Instances of sexual abuse at other California boarding schools surfaced shortly after The Thacher report.

      Santa Catalina School

      Dunn School

      Midland School 

      Cate School

Anyone who attended Cate School, Dunn School, Midland School, Santa Catalina School, or Thacher School should speak with our legal team.