Investigation launched into sexual abuse allegations at elite Carpinteria boarding school


Law enforcement authorities are investigating reports of sexual abuse and misconduct by a former employee at the elite Cate School in Carpinteria, months after campus officials told alumni that they launched their own internal look into potential abuse that could date back decades.

The investigation into allegations at the private boarding high school began on April 1, after the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office received a report from a mandated reporter outside of the school, said Raquel Zick, a public information officer with the sheriff’s office. The alleged abuse occurred while the suspect was employed at the school and on school property, authorities said.

Investigators have identified “several sexual assault survivors in this case who are both current and former students of Cate School,” according to a sheriff’s office statement. Officials did not say when the alleged abuse occurred, and the identity of the person who reported the allegations is protected under state law.

In a statement to the campus community that was shared with The Times, Head of School Ben Williams said Cate is “cooperating with an investigation by local law enforcement into alleged sexual misconduct by a former employee, who worked at Cate School for six months, and whose employment was terminated in February of 2020.” The school said it also alerted Child Protective Services to potential misconduct by the same employee.

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