Two former cadets at the Army and Navy Academy have filed lawsuits against the Carlsbad military academy over sexual assaults they suffered by former administrators.
According to its website, the academy has operated for 100 years and is California's only military academy.
The lawsuits, filed in early October, come four months after a jury awarded a former cadet $1.9 million in another sexual assault case. In all, there have been seven lawsuits filed against the college-preparatory academy over sexual abuse.
In the latest lawsuits, the victims, both unnamed, were allegedly abused by former academy headmaster Jeff Barton and Barton's assistant and fellow administrator, Juan Muñoz.
Earlier this year a jury found Barton guilty of six felony molestation counts and sentenced him to 45 years in prison.
Muñoz later pleaded guilty to a lesser misdemeanor charge and now resides in Pennsylvania.
And while Barton and Muñoz are believed to have molested the children, attorneys say it fell on the academy's trustees and administrators to make it right.
Attorneys for the victims say the academy was aware of the abuse and the propensity for abuse by its headmaster and counselor but failed to act and intentionally tried to hide it from police, parents, and prospective parents.
MC Doe enrolled in the Army and Navy Academy in 2004 when he was in the ninth grade. Shortly after enrolling, says the lawsuit, former counselor Juan Muñoz began grooming the boy by giving him gifts.
During his sophomore year, Muñoz would allegedly wrestle with the boy on campus. And, while doing so, the counselor would touch the boy's genitals and rub his crotch. Not long after, Muñoz would come into the boy's room at night and caress his head and body while he tried to fall asleep.
The nighttime visits soon turned sexual. Muñoz began to rub the boy’s genitals and begged the boy to allow him to perform oral sex on the cadet.
The lawsuit states that it wasn't until May of this year that the victim, now in his late 20s, realized that many of his problems centered around the abuse from Muñoz.
BB Doe enrolled at the Army and Navy Academy in 1997 while in the ninth grade. The alleged abuse, however, was done by the academy's headmaster, Barton.
In his case, Barton also began grooming the boy. Two years later, Barton gave the boy a sandwich laced with a drug that rendered the boy unconscious. Barton then allegedly sodomized him and groped him while he was out.
The victim's attorney, Vince Finaldi, says the academy was already aware of other allegations against Muñoz and Barton and tried to hide the allegations. They provided other victims with counseling to avoid criminal investigations.
"Bottom line is the academy knew about abuse and other problems for a number of decades," Finaldi says in an phone interview. "The administration did its best to keep it under wraps but these victims didn't have that option. They may have been able to bottle it up for a number of years and pretend that it went away. It never does. It festers inside.
"The other thing is you have a military boarding school that is completely unregulated. They don't have to follow the education code. Instead they flaunt the fact that the academy is a century old and has this tradition. Then you have a high number of students that may have had behavioral issues or problems with the law. They generally are the easiest prey. It's ripe for abuse and nothing will change unless this all comes out."
An academy spokesman issued the following response: “Over the past decade the academy has adopted state-of-the-art security measures and equipment to ensure a safe campus environment. Additionally, there is ongoing training of staff and cadets on issues that impact their physical and emotional safety and welfare.”