Former McCallie Coach Accused of Sexually Abusing 2 Students
In April 2018, news broke that a former teacher and basketball coach from the prestigious McCallie School has been accused of sexually abusing two students at the school in the 1990s. The accused is Steve Carpenter, now deceased, who worked at the all-boys private school from 1989-2000 as a teacher and head basketball coach. Carpenter died in 2016.
On April 25, school administrators sent out an email to the McCallie community, announcing that they had hired a law firm called Fisher and Phillips LLP to represent the school and investigate Carpenter’s time as a teacher and coach there. That same day, school spokesperson Jay Mayfield announced that the allegations had been reported to the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.
Investigation Reveals 14 Former McCallie Student Victims of Sexual Misconduct
In late September, the Fisher and Phillips investigation reached its conclusion – finding that 14 former McCallie students were victims of sexual misconduct committed by five former employees between the late 1960s and 2000. Four of those accused are now deceased.
The school notified the McCallie community of the investigation’s outcome in an email sent on Thursday, September 27. In that email, Headmaster A. Lee Burns wrote that the school had reached out to over 11,000 people during the investigation.
Former McCallie Activities Director Jeffrey Barton Convicted of Sexual Abuse
Prior to this investigation, former McCallie student activities director Jeffrey Barton was accused of child sexual abuse multiple times and eventually convicted of several sex crimes.
The first incident occurred in 1993 when an eighth-grade student accused Barton of molesting him on an overnight trip. Barton was suspended and eventually fired following this incident, but never arrested.
20 years later, a student from a California military academy where Barton was teaching from 1997-2001 also accused him of sexual abuse. This prompted six other former students from three other states to come forward with their own accusations against Barton.
Barton was arrested and charged with two counts of sodomy and 14 counts of oral copulation by force. He was found guilty and sentenced to 48 years in prison.
Legal Recourse For Victims of Private School Sexual Abuse
Attorney contributor Brian Kent of AbuseGuardian.com helps survivors of sexual violence speak out and seek justice. We have asked him to add some thoughts on the legal options available to survivors of sexual abuse in private schools:
One of the tragic realities of this world is the fact that sexual predators often seek positions of trust, where they’ll have the opportunity to exploit this trust and sexually abuse innocent victims. We often see this happen in our schools, as many former teachers, coaches, and other school employees have been accused and convicted of sexually abusing their students.
When this happens, it’s important to address several concerns. Of course, we must make sure that the perpetrator is arrested and prosecuted before they can continue preying on students. We must also make sure that the victims get all of the support they need. Finally, it’s important to determine if the school was negligent in a way that facilitated the abuse. An example of such negligence would be a failure to properly investigate reports of sexual abuse or hiring a new employee who had a history of sexual misconduct.
If you or a loved one has been sexually abused by a school employee, you may have grounds for a lawsuit. You can learn more about your family’s legal options by speaking to one of our experienced sexual abuse survivor lawyers.
Location of the McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN