SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Hogtied, abused, gagged, undressed and used for sexual gratification: Dan Schumacher, Darren Sorgea, Scott Sorgea, Robbe Taylor, and Kevin Williams said they experienced those things at the hands of a teacher while they were students at Capital Christian School in the early 1980s.
For years, they said they suffered in silence, with brothers Darren and Scott Sorgea not even telling each other.
“You feel very ashamed,” Darren Sorgea said. “You just wake up one day and next thing you know you’re being abused. You feel very alone.”
But one day at a sleepover they said they realized that was far from the case.
“The subject of Dave Arnold and being tied up and then all the others like, you got tied, up, you got tied up,” Dan Schumacher recalled.
According to a lawsuit the men filed last month, Dave Arnold, a former teacher and football coach, groomed the teens and eventually sexually assaulted them at his off-campus home. They said the behavior was reported at least twice to the vice principal.
“I remember hearing it was reported and thinking, ‘Oh my God, this is amazing. He’s going to be prosecuted. We’re going to get justice,’” Scott Sorgea said.
The men, now in their 50s, said nothing happened. They weren’t questioned and there was no follow-up. Their lawsuit accuses then-Head Pastor Glen Cole of shutting down the investigation saying, “Nobody is going to bring down my school. Not Arnold, not those boys, no one.”
“You just felt like where were the adults. We were just left to deal with it on your own — We all were,” Darren Sorgea said.
“Our lives and what happened to us must not matter,” Scott Sorgea recalled.
For 40 years they’ve carried that, finding ways to cope. Scott Sorgea returned to Capital Christian working there for 22 years.
“The reason I went back was to protect other children from what happened to me,” Scott Sorgea said.
He said he thought it was too late to address what happened to him, but on Jan. 1, 2020, something changed.
“When AB218 was passed, it just gave us new life and hope there could be some accountability,” Scott Sorge said.
Assembly Bill 218, The California Child Victims Act allowed childhood sexual abuse victims until the end of this year to sue no matter when the abuse happened. After 2023, they have until either age 40 to sue or five years from the point that the psychological effect of the abuse becomes apparent.
Scott Sorgea said, with the new law in place, he told the Capital Christian School Superintendent Tim Wong what happened to him.
“He said I just had a meeting over at the church, and we would like you to call the insurance and report this to them,” Scott Sorgea said.
He said he was appalled by what he heard next.
“It just to me was a very insensitive cold-blooded response to when someone tells you they were sexually abused,” Scott Sorgea said.
Who exactly Wong told, if anyone, is unclear. Head Pastor Rick Cole took over leadership of the church from his father Glen Cole in 1995. He told FOX40 he is currently out of town. However, he maintains what he told FOX40 in an interview last week to be true.
“About two weeks ago, I received a call from the journalist from The Sacramento Bee asking if I could speak to the situation, and that’s the first I heard about it,” Rick Cole said.
He said that he only recently learned about the alleged sex abuse suffered by the men 40 years ago and that to his knowledge no one in the present-day church leadership has been informed prior to the lawsuit being filed.
When FOX40 spoke to Rick Cole last week, neither Rick Cole nor FOX40 knew the specific person Scott Sorgea said he reported his abuse to in 2020.
FOX40 asked Rick Cole if he would have been informed if one of the men spoke with someone in the church about what happened to them.
“In the structure, as I understand what we do, it would have been brought forward to me. Yes,” Rick Cole said.
When FOX40 spoke on the phone with Rick Cole on Wednesday, he declined to immediately upon learning head of school Tim Wong was the person Sorgea said he notified. The attorneys for the five men said the school is demonstrating a pattern of not addressing abuse claims.
“The simple reality is that if Pastor Cole or his father didn’t know about this, which we think they did. Of they didn’t know about this, they should have known about it, and they could have and should have done the right thing,” said Mike Reck, the plaintiffs’ attorney. “They should have done the right thing in the 80s when it happened, and they should have done the right thing in modern time when they were told of it.”
Their lawsuit alleges the assault happened off-campus, but Arnold physically and financially groomed the boys in plain sight at school by paying tuition, buying one of them a car, grabbing Kevin and Scott and wrestling with them in hallways.
The five men said along with accountability from the school, and Dave Arnold, they want childhood sex abuse victims to know their options. And that for many victims over age 40, their window is closing to come forward.
“Promoting AB 218 because we’re running out of time. We only have about six months to the end of the year. I want my voice heard that you can be heard,” Dan Schumacher said.