A former faculty member at a prestigious $55,000-a-year private school in Southern California is under investigation for sexual misconduct in a case that was instigated after an internal report conducted by the school found 'several' former students who claimed they were sexually abused by employees.
The staff member in question, who is currently facing criminal charges over the abuse allegations, was working at the Cate School in Carpinteria as recently as February 2020, school officials said in a statement.
The criminal case came about after April 1, when the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office received a report from a mandated reporter that identified 'several sexual assault survivors in this case who are both current and former students of Cate School,' according to Raquel Zick, a public information officer with the sheriff’s office.
According to the Los Angeles Times, two alumnae who attended the school in the 1980s and early 1990s, had recently come forward claiming 'mistreatment by Cate faculty,' spurring the school's internal inquiry that led to a criminal investigation.
The bombshell allegations revealed in the Los Angeles Times report come after California's recent changes in statute of limitations for civil claims that took effect last year, which created a three-year window for victims of sexual abuse to file such cases that might have otherwise expired.Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer
News of the alleged sexual abuse became public on Friday, months after the school informed former students that it was conducting an internal investigation of its own into the abuse claims that could potentially date back decades.
The Times reports that the school is looking into 'sexual misconduct involving faculty members and students that occurred several decades ago' at the prestigious boarding school, however officials did not reveal the name of the person who reported the allegations due to protections under state law.
The sprawling 150-acre campus is located just minutes from Santa Barbara
Investigators from the Santa Barbara County district attorney’s office served search warrants on June 24 at the Cate campus to gather evidence, with school officials stating they intend on fully cooperating with authorities.
The school's current Head of School, Ben Williams, released a statement to the campus community in the wake of the allegations, stating they are '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.'
However, that employee has yet to be publicly named, with school officials citing the ongoing criminal investigation as the reason behind not releasing the former employee's identity.
'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