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Santa Barbara sheriff investigating sexual abuse allegations at Cate School

Tracy Lehr / KEYT

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

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 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.

Victim advocates are available for any and all abuse survivors and support is available for anyone who comes forward. Survivors can call the Victim-Witness Assistance Program directly at 805-568-2400. Support is also available through Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA). You can call the confidential 24-hour hotline, receive legal and medical advocacy, and counseling. They can be reached at 805-564-3696.

The Ventura County Sheriff's Office is currently investigating allegations of sexual abuse at the Thacher School in Ojai. 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.

Article Topic Follows: Santa Barbara - South County

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