A former boarding school administrator in California accused of molesting at least six former students had previously taught in Aiken County.
Jeffrey Barton, 55, is charged with 14 counts of oral copulation by force and two counts of sodomy by force. He was arrested on Oct. 17 and placed in the Vista Detention Facility in San Diego, where he remained on Friday evening under $3 million bond.
Barton, a former administrator for the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, Calif., is accused of molesting at least six former students whom he mentored, according to a statement from the Carlsbad Police Department in California. He was employed by the academy from 1995 to 2013.
The abuse took place in Barton's private cottage at the Army and Navy Academy, in his office and on overnight trips, according to previous news reports. Barton reportedly used drug-laced baked goods to incapacitate the victims.
NBC News reported that Barton taught at other schools before coming to Carlsbad, including Aiken Preparatory School and the McCallie Private Boys Boarding School and Day School in Chattanooga.
According to Bob Harrington, headmaster emeritus for the school, Barton taught Spanish at Aiken Prep for two or three years in the mid-1980s. Harrington was surprised and dismayed to hear about the serious charges against Barton in California.
“I hadn't seen him for a long time, but he had a good experience with us,” Harrington said. “I'm very upset about this.”
Barton has no record with the Aiken County Clerk of Court, and a spokesman for the Aiken Department of Public Safety said he had no run-ins with the city.
Carlsbad police began their investigation in June when a victim, now an adult, reported past sexual abuse by Barton, according to the statement. Since then, investigators have worked to develop a comprehensive case by collecting evidence, following leads and identifying additional victims.
Victims and witnesses are encouraged to call the Carlsbad police hotline at 760-931-2276, including anyone in the Aiken County area.
“We're looking into his total career,” said Jodee Sasway, community relations manager for the Carlsbad Police Department. She added that callers may remain anonymous.
A message left with the San Diego County District Attorney's Office was not returned by press time on Friday.
Teddy Kulmala covers the crime and courts beat for the Aiken Standard and has been with the newspaper since August 2012.