The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office along with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office is currently investigating reported alleged sexual abuse and misconduct by a former employee of Cate School. The investigation was initiated on April 1, 2021, by mandated reporters outside of the school speaking on behalf of the sexual assault survivors. These allegations occurred while the suspect was employed at Cate School and occurred on the school property.
On June 24, 2021, detectives from the Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Bureau and investigators from the District Attorney’s Office served search warrants at the Cate School campus, located at 1960 Cate Mesa Road in Carpinteria, to gather potential evidence to further the investigation of these allegations. Detectives have identified several sexual assault survivors in this case who are both current and former students of Cate School. While the investigation is ongoing, we will be refraining from identifying the suspect in order to protect the integrity of the case and ensure justice for the survivors.
Detectives and investigators are currently working with Cate School and their legal representatives to contact the named and any unnamed sexual assault survivors along with locating and identifying any other potential witnesses to the alleged sexual misconduct.
Sheriff’s detectives are working with the identified survivors, but they believe there may be additional survivors or witnesses that have not been located or contacted at the time of this press release. Anyone with information related to this investigation is asked to please contact Detective Sergeant Mark Valencia at (805) 681-4150. The Sheriff’s Office is aware that survivors of sexual assault and abuse are often reluctant to come forward for many different reasons. We have many resources available regardless of your decision to participate in a criminal investigation. Sheriff’s detectives coordinate closely with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, Victim-Witness Program to ensure the needs of survivors are not overshadowed by the focus on the investigation and prosecution of the accused. Victim Advocates are available to ensure that survivors are kept informed and supported throughout the criminal justice process. Survivors have the option of contacting the Victim-Witness Assistance Program directly at 805-568-2400 or toll free at 855-840-3232.
The Sheriff’s Office would like to remind survivors that they can also find support services through our community partner, Standing Together to End Sexual Assault (STESA). Services offered by STESA include a confidential 24-Hour hotline, legal and medical advocacy and accompaniment, and counseling. You can reach a STESA advocate at any time by calling (805) 564-3696.