The San Diego County District Attorney’s announced seven new criminal charges Friday against a man already accused of molesting students at the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad.
At a hearing at the San Diego Superior Court downtown, Jeffrey Barton, 56, was formally charged with these additional crimes. Prosecutors also revealed there is now an additional victim in the case. These new allegations are the product of a secret Grand Jury hearing, the results of which were unsealed before the hearing.
Barton pleaded not guilty to the new charges. After the hearing Barton's attorney, Dan Greene, told reporters his client will be found not guilty of all charges when a jury hears the evidence at trial.
A judge also doubled Barton's bail to $6 million Friday agreeing with the prosecutor that Barton remains a danger to young boys and a flight risk.
District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis had scheduled a news conference immediately following Barton’s court appearance.
She was supposed to be joined by Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior, who is prosecuting the case, Carlsbad Police Chief Gary Morrison, and Carlsbad PD detective Patty Para.
Barton’s former attorney, Jim Pokorny, who represented Barton when he was first charged with the molestation crimes last year, questioned both the timing of Friday’s hearing and Dumanis’ decision to involve a Grand Jury in the case.
“This is a thinly-veiled attempt to garner publicity for something that’s old news,” Pokorny told NBC 7.
Pokorny also said he is “outraged” by the timing of the new charges, and Dumanis’s decision to hold a news conference after the hearing.
Dumanis is running for re-election in Tuesday’s primary election.
Pokorny said “there is no question” that Dumanis is using the case to gain publicity and votes in her election campaign.
“There are two business days until the election,” Pokorny said. “Why else would she be doing this now?”
Pokorny told NBC 7 Greene had similar concerns about the timing of today’s hearing and DA’s news conference. Pokorny and Greene scheduled a news conference for later Friday to expand on Pokorny’s comments.
However, plans for both sides changed abruptly Friday afternoon, with both sides cancelling their news conferences.
At the hearing, Barton’s attorney argued that Dumanis violated his client’s right to get publicity for her re-election. The judge, however, said he sees “no political motivation” here.
Prosecutor Prior denied that Dumanis manipulated the Grand Jury system on this case, adding, “We care only about the victims. We care only about justice.”
The charges against Barton first came to light in October 2013 when police accused the longtime administrator of the Carlsbad boarding school of sexually molesting at least six former students. Barton worked at the Army and Navy Academy from 1995 to 2013 and was the Head of Schools.
Carlsbad police began investigating Barton in June 2013 after an alleged victim, now an adult, reported sexual abuse.
At the time, Barton was arrested and charged with 16 felony charges, including forced oral copulation and sodomy.
At his arraignment a few days later, prosecutors revealed that Barton had allegedly given his victims drug-laced brownies to incapacitate them prior to the sexual molestations. Barton’s baked goods became known around campus.
Prosecutors said Barton’s victims spanned three separate decades, three separate boarding schools and seven separate school years.
“All when the defendant was in a position of trust to his victims,” Deputy DA Tracy Prior said. “It doesn’t get more serious than this.”
Prosecutors said all six victims are now between 28 and 42 years old and were too ashamed to report the alleged crimes when they happened.
All of the alleged incidents took place in Barton’s private cottage at the Army and Navy Academy, in his car, in his office and on overnight trips. Barton pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Carlsbad police believed there could be more victims and said the investigation was ongoing.
Besides the school in Carlsbad, Barton has also worked at schools in Tennessee and South Carolina.