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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Hog-tied, gagged, undressed: Those are some of the things that five now-men say happened to them in the 1980s while they were students at Capital Christian School.
“This lawsuit is about five boys who were sexually assaulted by their teacher. This is a case about an institution that failed these five kids,” attorney Brian Williams said.
Scott Sorgea, Darren Sorgea, Dan Schumacher, Robbe Taylor, and Kevin Williams filed a lawsuit against Capital Christian School, saying a former coach and teacher groomed and then abused them.
The suit centers around former teacher Dave Arnold, who, according to the suit, worked at the school between 1980 and 1983. The former students say he built trust by buying, giving them money and gifts, then paying them to grade papers at his home. According to the suit, he offered them extra money if they played a game that involved hog-tying, blindfolding — and in at least one case pulling down the pants of a student— then watching them try to untie themselves.
They say Arnold sexually gratified himself as it happened.
“These kids literally having to get into fistfights with this perpetrator to keep him off. One of them jumped out of the window of his apartment. Kids shouldn’t have to resort to self-help,” Brian Williams said.
By “self-help,” Brian Williams and Mike Reck, attorneys for the plaintiffs, are referring to what they say was a lack of action by Capital Christian School when the allegations were reported. According to the suit, in the early 1980s, the allegations were reported to a school administrator and former head pastor Glen Cole, whom did not report the incident to law enforcement.
Cole allegedly said, “Nobody is going to bring down my school. Not Arnold, not those boys, not anyone.”
“Capital Christian and the men who were running it made a choice to value their reputation over child safety and that is a choice that’s dangerous,” Reck told FOX40.
Arnold, who is also named in the lawsuit, left the school in 1983. Until last month, he was an associate professor teaching online at another religious institution: Indiana Wesleyan University. The school said he retired, but would not comment on whether the retirement was related to inquiries from the Sacramento Bee, which first reported on the abuse lawsuit.
“It was shocking. I actually felt myself feeling nauseous just reading through it,” said Rick Cole, senior pastor at Capital Christian Center.
Rick Cole is now the senior pastor at Capital Christian Center. The alleged abuse happened when the school and church were in different locations and under the leadership of Rick Cole’s father, who is now deceased.
“I can’t believe that this would happen. Never heard of it before; never knew that this was a part of the story of any student in our experience here at our school,” Rick Cole said.
Rick Cole said the first time he learned of the allegations was two weeks ago when he was contacted by a journalist with The Sacramento Bee. He has been advised not to discuss the lawsuit, but wanted to make some things clear.
“We want to provide care, do whatever we can to provide love, compassion and respond properly as we learn more about the situation and what responsibility do we have at this point,” Rick Cole said.