A second former student has sued an exclusive private school in Southern California, saying its administrators knowingly hired a sexual predator who went on to repeatedly abuse her.

Jennifer Christiansen Vurno of Washington announced Wednesday that she is suing The Thacher School in Ojai for negligence, and sexual assault and harassment.

Vurno, 44, said she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by a soccer coach in 1996 when she was 17 years old, and that the school knew the coach was a predator when he was hired nearly a decade earlier.

USA TODAY doesn’t typically name sexual assault survivors but Vurno said she wanted to go public to encourage others to speak up.

Thacher School Investigation:Decades of abuse uncovered but unpunished at exclusive California private school

Thacher culture allowed abuse to thrive for decades, ex-students claim

Vurno is among dozens of former Thacher students who have accused former school administrators, teachers and coaches of sexual abuse and of creating a culture that allowed it to thrive for decades.

Vurno’s was the second lawsuit filed in as many months that will attempt to hold the school accountable. 

The Thacher School, an elite private boarding school in Ojai, published a report in June 2021 documenting allegations of sexual abuse that stretch back decades.

The school, where students stay in dorms throughout the academic year, has said none of the accused works at the institution anymore and that it has made the changes necessary for a safe environment.

The accusations first came to light on several social media accounts in 2020, which prompted Thacher’s board of trustees to hire a law firm to conduct an independent investigation.

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