Another Victim in Abuse Case Alleged

Times Staff Writer

A week before Chad Pridgen is to be sentenced for molesting 11 teenage boys, prosecutors are investigating whether there is a new victim in the case against the former Camarillo High School science teacher.

The mother of the potential new victim, a former Camarillo High student, last month told an investigator working on a civil case against Pridgen that she believed her son was a victim, said Ventura attorney Brenda Andrade.

She said her law firm reported the information to the district attorney's office.

"It's a crime," she said. "It should be investigated."

Deputy Dist. Atty. Douglas Ridley said investigators are still working to contact the alleged victim. If evidence is found against Pridgen, Ridley said it is unclear whether a new criminal case would be filed or if more charges would be added to the existing complaint.

"We're aware of the new victim that Ms. Andrade is talking about; we plan to look into it as soon as possible, and we hope it won't delay the sentencing," Ridley said.

In November, Pridgen, 31, pleaded guilty to 20 out of 39 initial felony and misdemeanor charges. The complaint included allegations that the teacher and coach engaged in oral sex with the teenagers, gave them alcohol and showed them pornography during after-school parties at his Camarillo home.

Pridgen is set to be sentenced in Ventura County Superior Court on Jan. 17 and could get a maximum of 13 years in prison.

Meanwhile, Andrade has filed a lawsuit against Pridgen and the Oxnard Union High School District on behalf of eight of the boys and their families, alleging school officials ignored relevant complaints brought against Pridgen at least two years before his Feb. 5, 2001, arrest.

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