Cate School Carpinteria California Student Sexual Abuse

Seeking Justice for Survivors of Abuse

Lieff Cabraser represents a survivor of sexual abuse at the Cate School in Carpinteria. The case arose in the wake of investigations into reports of student sexual abuse at the Cate School in the 1980s and early 1990s. Alerted by an ex-employee of the Cate School, the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and District Attorney’s Office served search warrants on the Cate School campus in an effort to secure additional evidence supporting the allegations.

December 2021 Update

In the fall of 2020, the Cate School Board of Trustees commissioned an independent investigation into incidents of sexual misconduct by employees of Cate School. That report has now been published and can be accessed online.

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s office has assigned the Cate School Sex Abuse investigation to Detective James Kurowski. His direct line is (805) 656-4653.

Cate School is a selective, coeducational independent school for boarding and day students in the 9th through 12th grades located eleven miles from Santa Barbara, California. The school is reported to have a current enrollment of 270 students from 31 different states and 18 foreign countries.

While the investigation is going on, authorities will refrain from identifying the suspect in order to protect the integrity of the case and ensure justice for the survivors.

Proven Advocates for Survivors of Sexual Abuse

In addition to representing a survivor of sexual abuse at the Cate School, Lieff Cabraser represents survivors across the U.S. who have been victimized by sexual violence and sexual abuse. We treat every client with care, respect, and compassion as we bring our comprehensive legal skills forward on each and every case. We have a dedicated team of lawyers, nurse consultants, and paralegals experienced in working with and listening to survivors who work individually with every client in every case to see that justice is won.

We approach each case with a client-focused team, working at the pace and with the support each client deserves. In California, we have challenged abuse alleged at private schools like The Branson School in Marin County, at the country’s most prestigious universities, and via online platforms that have facilitated the sexual exploitation of minors. We understand the incredible courage it takes to challenge institutions and leaders, and we applaud our clients for taking steps that make the world safer for other survivors and that help to stop others from being harmed.

Our current and previous sexual abuse cases include our work on behalf of female students who were abused by the university gynecologist at USC ($215 million settlement and sweeping university reforms) as well as cases against the NCAA, the University of Michigan, the Hotchkiss School in Connecticut, the Branson School in California’s Marin County, J.B. v. G6 Hospitality LLC, Huntington Hospital in Pasadena, California, and Doe v. Twitter (representing anti-trafficking non-profit amici). We are also involved in numerous non-public school, church, and institutional student and teen abuse cases, including investigations regarding conversion therapy providers and troubled teen institutions.

If a school, church, sports team, hospital, or another institution failed to protect you from abuse, we may be able to help you hold that institution accountable, and possibly seek compensation and practice changes to prevent that failure from happening again to you or others. We urge you to contact a survivor’s rights lawyer at Lieff Cabraser today about your potential case and recovery.

If you were the victim of abuse unrelated to a larger institution, representation by our firm may not be the best option for your situation. We encourage you to consider representation by other attorneys, as well as support from resources like (another resource for male survivors),, and

Contact us

Lieff Cabraser partners Kelly Dermody, Lexi Hazam, and Sarah London are leading the investigation by our firm on behalf of students who suffered sexual abuse of all kinds by teachers and staff at Carpinteria’s Cate School. You can contact Kelly, Lexi, or Sarah by telephone at 415 956-1000, or you can use the confidential form below. There is no charge or obligation for your outreach, and all information will be held in the strictest confidence.

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