Santa Barbara sheriff investigating sexual abuse allegations at two elite boarding schools, the Cate School and The Thacher School

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office are investigating reported allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct by a former employee of Cate School in Carpinteria.

The Cate School is an elite private college preparatory boarding school with tuition in excess of $50,000 per year.

The sheriff’s office began investigating the former employee of the private boarding school in April. The alleged abuse happened on school property while the suspect was employed by the school.

Last week, detectives served search warrants at the school’s campus at 1960 Cate Mesa Road. Detectives gathered potential evidence as part of the investigation and have identified several alleged sexual assault victims who are both current and former students.

The investigation is ongoing and the sheriff’s office said it is refraining from naming the suspect at this time.

Investigators are working to identify any other potential unnamed sexual assault victims or witnesses of the misconduct.

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office is also currently investigating allegations of sexual abuse at the Thacher School in Ojai, another elite private boarding school. It’s unclear if the abuse allegations are related, but both private boarding schools have a described “history of collaboration” and a storied rivalry in athletics.

The sheriff’s office believes there are more victims in this case that have not yet been identified. Anyone with information about any possible victims or witnesses to the abuse is urged to contact Detective Sergeant Mark Valencia at 805-681-4150.

Manly, Stewart & Finaldi has represented hundreds of child sexual abuse victims of teachers and coaches in California schools and Universities. We were the lead attorneys helping sexual abuse victims in recover $852 million from the University of Southern California.  We are also the lead attorneys representing Olympic athletes and victims of former US Olympic Women’s Gymnastics Team Doctor Larry Nassar and secured a $500 million settlement for our clients.  In each of these cases we have helped victims and families get justice by conducting a thorough investigation of the organization and the school . We secured a settlement of $140 million on behalf of 81 child sexual abuse victims at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles. This was the largest child sexual abuse settlement by a public school district in history. In many cases we have discovered that administrators and executives  know that the perpetrator was a danger to children and either did nothing or actively covered up the crimes.