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Ex-Military Academy Administrator Accused of Molesting 7 Boys Pleads Not Guilty

Above: Jeffrey Barton at a San Diego County Superior Court hearing in October 2013.

A former Carlsbad military boarding school administrator accused of molesting seven boys at three different boarding schools over three decades pleaded not guilty Friday to 23 charges, including forcible sex counts.

A judge Friday unsealed an amended grand jury indictment against Jeffrey S. Barton.

The defendant was ordered held on $6 million bail.

Barton, 56, the former head of Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, was arrested and charged in October with molesting two middle school cadets. Four other uncharged victims were from Barton's previous places of employment, McCallie Boarding School for boys in Tennessee and Aiken Preparatory Boarding School for boys in South Carolina.

A preliminary hearing was scheduled earlier this month with the alleged victims — now men between the ages of 28 and 41 — set to testify against Barton.

When Barton fired his attorney and the preliminary hearing canceled, prosecutors exercised their right to convene a grand jury, said Deputy District Attorney Tracy Prior.

The amended indictment contains charges that Barton molested four boys at the Army and Navy Academy. Three other boys from the schools in Tennessee and South Carolina are listed as uncharged victims, Prior said.

The prosecutor dismissed allegations by Barton's attorney that the timing of the amended indictment comes several days before an election in which Prior's boss, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis, is up for re-election.

"There's nothing further from the truth," Prior said outside court. "This case is about a sexual abuse perpetrator who spanned 30 years, three separate boarding schools and seven separate victims."

Barton worked at the Army and Navy Academy, a college-preparatory school, from 1995 until earlier this year.

An investigation was launched a year ago, when a former student, now an adult, told authorities he was victimized by Barton. Detectives then identified the other alleged victims.

Barton, who faces oral copulation and sodomy charges, faces life in prison if convicted. He will be back in court June 13 for a status conference.

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