Two Former Cadets at Carlsbad Military Academy Sue Over Alleged Sex Abuse

Lawsuit alleges former headmaster Jeffrey Barton drugged and raped them while attending Army Navy Academy in Carlsbad.

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Two new plaintiffs have come forward, filing sexual assault lawsuits for alleged abuse they suffered at the hands of Jeffrey Barton while cadets at the Army Navy Academy in Carlsbad in the mid-1990s.

The civil lawsuits come nearly one month after an appellate court reversed Barton’s 48-year criminal sentence due to a procedural error made by the trial judge who presided over Barton’s criminal case in 2017. In his criminal case, a jury found Barton guilty of six counts of molestation of minors while he worked as an administrator at the San Diego County military academy. However, on July 17, 2020, an appellate court reversed that conviction due to an error that was made by the trial court judge when he was dismissing a juror.

Now, as the District Attorney’s Office reconsiders whether to retry Barton for the sex crimes against former cadets, two new plaintiffs have filed civil lawsuits over their alleged abuse.

The new allegations mirror the allegations made by three other of Barton’s alleged victims.

Both men who filed the latest civil action say they were 14 and 15 years old when Barton, who was working as an English teacher, administrator, and coach, befriended them at the Army Navy Academy.

Shortly after gaining their trust, Barton allegedly gave the cadets drugs and then raped them while they were intoxicated. It was a pattern that Barton followed with all of his alleged victims, said an attorney for the plaintiffs.

“Barton secluded and isolated his victims, including our clients,” said Alex Cunny, an attorney at Manly Stewart Finaldi, a law firm that specializes in sex assault cases. “Barton gave them substances that intoxicated them and then proceeded to sodomize them.”

Cunny says the Army Navy Academy failed to keep cadets safe from harm while attending the region’s only military academy. 

“These boys were sent to the Academy by their parents who thought it was a very prestigious school,” said Cunny. “Our firm has represented people who have been hazed, individuals who have been sexually abused by other cadets. It’s concerning when there is an institution that has that sort of history to allow children to still go there after all those years.”

In 2018, as reported by NBC 7, the Army Navy Academy paid over $1.75 million to a former cadet who said Barton molested him in 1999, four to five years after the allegations occurred in the two latest lawsuits. 

Cunny said not only did Army Navy Academy fail to prevent the abuse, the academy failed to conduct a proper background check when they hired Barton.

“We certainly believe there could be more potential victims out there and we encourage anyone that has been the victim of abuse to come forward,” said Cunny.

As for previous abuse, the lawsuit alleges that Barton had committed similar acts before the academy hired him.

“Barton had been employed at several other residential boarding schools throughout the United States,” reads the lawsuit. “While in such employment positions, it is based upon information that Barton sexually assaulted other minors and was fired for such sexual abuse and misconduct.”

As for Barton’s upcoming release from state prison, the Attorney General’s Office told NBC 7 that the appellate ruling won't be finalized for a few weeks. 

In regards to whether or not the San Diego County District Attorney will retry Barton, a spokesperson said the office has not yet decided. 

An academy spokesperson said they were not aware of the lawsuit and cannot comment on the litigation.

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