Investigation covers seven former faculty members
Seven former Cate School faculty members were banned from campus due to sexual misconduct and abuse allegations revealed in an investigative report released by the school on Wednesday.
The investigation conducted by the Oppenheimer Investigations Group LLP detailed allegations against seven respondents including former boys’ soccer coach Dave Mochel.
The six other former faculty members include Scott McLeod, Kirk Phelps, Robert Kusel, Martin Lowenstein, Da’Jon James and Andy Campbell. There were additionally 10 unnamed respondents with various sexual misconduct allegations going back decades.
In a 2012 investigation ordered by the private Carpinteria school, allegations of an inappropriate relationship against Mr. Mochel were sustained and resulted in the former coach’s resignation. However, Mr. Mochel was still allowed to reside on campus with his wife, who was still employed by the school.
The Cate School retained the investigations group to conduct another impartial investigation on Oct. 13, 2020, after hearing complaints of sexual misconduct and sexual harassment by Cate students and alumni.
The report was published by the Cate School on its website alongside the message, “We made a promise to conduct a thorough third-party investigation, motivated by our drive to learn as much as we could about the school’s past.”
According to the report, 54 individuals were interviewed, including 38 students and alumni, seven respondents, five administrators and former administrators and four current or former faculty members.
The report details interviews with students and alumni who made the allegations, as well as the named respondents who agreed to participate.
OIG additionally used the preponderance of evidence standard, crucially concluding that the alleged conduct was more likely than not to have occurred while not determining whether laws were violated.
The report determined all allegations against named respondents are sustained, meaning their actions constituted misconduct.
The investigations group additionally determined all allegations against unnamed faculty members were sustained save for one allegation of sexual activity with students against unnamed faculty member seven and another allegation of enabling behavior by unnamed faculty member five.
The Cate School additionally posted a list of all the corrective actions they put in place as a result of the report’s findings.
The 13 corrective actions include initiatives to increase student awareness toward sexual misconduct and educate faculty to be aware of signs of inappropriate relationships among students and teachers.
In a letter from the Cate board to the Cate community, President Lisa Browne Stanson and Chair Wyatt Gruber address the report saying, “The report is clear that there were instances where the School’s response fell short and we want to acknowledge that the Board and the Administration made mistakes.”
“We are resolute in our commitment to taking the very best care of our students,” the board continues in the statement. “In so focusing our efforts on our mission, we honor the survivors whose experience was the impetus for this report, and we carry their spirit and their strength forward for every young person who chooses to call Cate home.”