Elite California Boarding School Faces Sex Abuse Allegations

California police are investigating claims of sexual abuse and misconduct made against a former employee at one of the country's most exclusive private boarding schools.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's Office have been investigating the former employee of Cate School since April, for sexual abuse and misconduct alleged to have taken place on school property.

The school, which costs $53,750 a year for day students and $68,150 for those boarding, is located on a sprawling campus in Carpinteria, California.

The investigation began after the sheriff's office received a report from mandated reporters from outside of the school who were "speaking on behalf of the sexual assault survivors," according to a police statement.

The sheriff's office said that since the start of the investigation, "detectives have identified several sexual assault survivors in this case who are both current and former students of Cate School."

Investigators served search warrants at the school's campus on June 24 to gather potential further evidence related to the allegations.

The sheriff's office is also working to identify any other possible victims. It believes that there are others who haven't yet been identified, and it has urged anyone with information to get in contact.

The police confirmed that "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."

In a statement sent to the campus community that was shared with The Los Angeles Times, Head of School Ben Williams confirmed that the facility 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.

"Per the request of the Sheriff's Department, we are not sharing the suspect's name in order to protect the integrity of the pending criminal investigation."

The investigation was revealed just two weeks after the Thacher School, a $64,700-a-year boarding facility based in Ojai, California, released a 91-page report admitting that there had been about 20 allegations of various types of sexual misconduct at the academy dating back to the 1980s.

The report recounted episodes described by students of incidents involving unwanted touching, groping and inappropriate comments, while alleging administrators covered them up.

In a letter accompanying the report, Daniel W. Yih, the chair of Thacher's governing board, confirmed that none of the accused teachers is still employed at the elite facility.

The board of trustees added in a statement: "The impact on students was profound. Many suffered lasting harm not just from the sexual misconduct itself but also from the school's handling of the misconduct."

Newsweek contacted the Cate School and the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Office for comment.

The Cate School misconduct allegations
File photo of an empty classroom. California police are investigating claims of sexual abuse and misconduct made agaisnt a former employee at one of the country’s most exclusive private boarding schools, the Cate School. smolaw11/iStock / Getty Images Plus