By CBSLA Staff

CARPINTERIA (CBSLA) — Authorities are investigating sexual abuse and misconduct allegations against a former employee of Cate School, one of the nation’s most expensive and exclusive private schools in the nation.

(credit: KEYT)

Detectives and investigators with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney are currently working with Cate School and their legal representatives to contact sexual assault survivors, find others who have not come forward, and identify any other potential witnesses to the alleged sexual misconduct.

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Authorities began the investigation on April 1 of this year “by mandated reporters outside of the school speaking on behalf of the sexual assault survivors.”

The alleged abuse was committed by an unidentified suspect who worked at Cate School, and occurred on the school’s property. Sheriff’s officials say they will not identify the suspect at this time, in order to protect the integrity of the case.

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Search warrants were served on the campus, 1960 Cate Mesa Road, last week to gather potential evidence to further the sheriff’s and district attorney’s office investigation.

The investigation into Cate School comes on the heels of a bombshell disclosure from Thacher School in Ojai, acknowledging 40 years of sexual abuse and misconduct by members of its faculty and student body. Those allegations are currently under investigation by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department.

Both schools are expensive, private boarding schools nestled along the edges of the Los Padres National Forest. Cate School was ranked on of the 10 best boarding schools in the nation, and is No. 19 on Business Insider’s list of most expensive boarding schools in America with its annual tuition of $55,500.

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Authorities say they have identified several Cate School sexual assault survivors, both current and former students. But investigators believe there may be more survivors or witnesses who have not been found yet. Anyone with information about this investigation can contact Detective Sergeant Mark Valencia at (805) 681-4150.