Watch CBS News

Former student alleges he was sexually assaulted by OCSA founder

CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Sept. 23 AM Edition)
CBS News Los Angeles: The Rundown (Sept. 23 AM Edition) 01:53

A former student at the Orange County School of the Arts claimed this week that he was sexually assaulted during the 2003-04 school year by the school's founder Ralph S. Opacic, according to a lawsuit filed Thursday that was obtained by the Orange County Register. 

The lawsuit alleged that the school's "toxic culture" allowed Opacic to take advantage of students and it created "a cult-like mentality that idolized Opacic and his vision."

Opacic, who retired last Spring, helped elevate the OCSA from an after school program into a well-known public charter school. 

He previously worked as a music instructor at Los Alamitos High School in the 1980s where the program was originally affiliated with, according to the OC Register.

The plaintiff is now in his mid 30s and works as an actor. 

He told the OC Register that he transferred to OSCA because he wanted to avoid being bullied at his previous school. 

"At the time, I felt special," the former student told the publication. "I felt as if someone was seeing me. And it's hard. I felt perhaps this person really cared about me in a way I was so eager to feel at that time as a young queer person."

He added that Opacic eventually started sending him "sexually explicit and inappropriate emails."

OSCA has not commented on the allegations yet though it confirmed to the OC Register that it was aware of the allegations.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.