Jeffrey Barton’s sex abuse allegations continue to grow. Barton, a 56-year-old former head of a southern California military boarding school for boys, was hit with seven additional sex abuse charges on Friday. In October, Barton was charged with 16 counts of sexual abuse; he pleaded not guilty to the new round of indictments, which allege abuse of multiple male victims between 1996 and 2001.
“This is a serious sexual abuse case spanning three decades, three schools and seven victims,” Deputy District Attorney Tracey Prior said. The recent charges were brought against a silent Barton in San Diego Superior Court on Friday. According to NBCSanDiego.com, Barton was charged with sexually assaulting four students of the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, California. The boys were reportedly between the seventh and ninth grades, and testified previously that the abuse occurred at Barton’s cottage while the groups were on field trips. Prosecutors claim Barton even snuck prescription drugs into brownies so that he could incapacitate and take advantage of the boys.
Pryor said that in the testimony, one of Barton’s victims said he and some friends stayed at Barton’s cabin in 1997, and when he awoke, he was “paralyzed to the sight” of seeing the middle-aged man sodomizing his friend. All of the alleged victims are now adults, aged between 28 and 42, according to court documents.
Barton has been held in jail since last year. In light of the fresh round of indictments, a judge doubled his bail from $3 million to $6 million. However, Barton’s defense attorneys argued that his client was left without the right to a preliminary hearing. The charges were secured under closed grand jury proceedings, done to protect the privacy of the victims.
“Mr. Barton was promised an opportunity to have a preliminary hearing so we can test the veracity of the allegations against him. This violates Mr. Barton’s right to a preliminary hearing and his federal rights to due process,” said defense attorney Daniel Greene. “These are horrible allegations and now Mr. Barton has been denied the opportunity to confront his accusers and defend himself.”
Barton’s defense team also questioned the timing of the release of these charges to the public. District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, who is running for re-election in Tuesday’s primary election, scheduled the news conference. Jim Pokorny, Barton’s initial defense attorney from the first round of charges that came in 2013, said he was “outraged” at both the suspect timing of the release of the charges and the the fact that Dumanis would involve a Grand Jury in the case.
“This is a thinly-veiled attempt to garner publicity for something that’s old news,” Pokorny said, adding that “there is no question” that Dumanis is leveraging this case to gain public notoriety, which he said she hopes will translate into votes this week.”There are two business days until the election,” Pokorny said. “Why else would she be doing this now?”