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Former Cate School Music Teacher Suspected of Sexual Abuse Arrested in Colorado for Alleged Sexual Assault

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Former Cate School Music Teacher Suspected of Sexual Abuse Arrested in Colorado for Alleged Sexual Assault

Former Cate School Music Teacher Suspected of Sexual Abuse Arrested in Colorado for Alleged Sexual Assault

Aug 6, 2021

A high school music teacher who was arrested last week in Boulder, Colorado, following allegations of sexual assault by four female students has also been a suspect in the ongoing sexual abuse and misconduct investigation at Carpinteria, California’s elite Cate School.

Da’Jon Tyrik James, 27, was arrested by the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office on:

  • Two felony counts of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust
  • One misdemeanor count of unlawful sexual contact

James taught at the Dawson School, and allegedly engaged in continuous sexual misconduct throughout his tenure.

The four female students disclosed they were subjected to inappropriate language, sexually explicit imagery, prolonged hugging, fondling, inappropriate complementing, and inappropriate kissing on their foreheads,” the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said. The female students who came forward were reportedly between ages 17 and 19.

James is currently being held at Boulder County Jail. The public defender’s office confirmed the former music teacher is not being represented by one of their attorneys. Attempts by various media outlets to reach James’ attorney were unsuccessful.

Anyone with information related to James’ sexual misconduct in Colorado is urged to contact Detective Compton of the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office at 303-441-1760.

In July, news broke confirming that the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department served search warrants at the Cate School campus. The search was an effort to “gather potential evidence to further the investigation” after having identified several sexual assault survivors who were both current and former students of the elite boarding school. The sheriff’s office began investigating a former employee of Cate School in April after receiving a tip from a mandated reporter.

Cate School officials later confirmed that James, the school’s director of vocal music for six months beginning in fall 2019, was the former employee involved in the Santa Barbara investigation, according to a Los Angeles Times report. Accordingly, officers from both the Boulder County and Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Offices have been in communication.

Following the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s announcement of the ongoing investigation, Cate Head of School, Ben Williams, issued an email to the campus community asserting that school officials were “cooperating with an investigation by local law enforcement into alleged sexual misconduct by a former employee.” The email also indicated the school had alerted Santa Barbara County Child Welfare Services to possible misconduct by the same employee.

Later in July, Cate released an additional email regarding the sheriff’s investigation. That email stated that the school had terminated a first-year teacher after “several courageous students” had come forward and reported sexual misconduct incidents in February 2020. Cate School officials reportedly informed Child Welfare Services of the matter but, according to the email, were told that it “did not rise to the level of a mandated report.” The school then contacted Child Welfare Services another time after “additional students” had come forward in the winter of 2020 and spring of 2021.

On Thursday, Cate School confirmed that Da’Jon Tyrik James was the employee cited in the email.

Cate School officials have indicated that they began their own internal investigation in October 2020 after multiple students came forward with allegations of “sexual misconduct involving faculty members and students that occurred several decades ago.” A Cate School representative told the Montecito Journal that James was thoroughly vetted before being hired.

“In the case under investigation by the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Office involving Da’Jon James, all school protocols were followed in his hiring and with respect to his termination six months later on March 3, 2020,” Avani Shah, Cate’s Director of Marketing and Communications, said. “His behavior was reported by the school to Child Welfare Services, and the Head of School and Assistant Head informed would-be inquiring employers of Mr. James’ termination and the reasons for it.”

The Cate School sexual abuse scandal came to light just days after a similar report surfaced at another elite Southern California boarding school. Ojai’s Thacher School released a Special Committee Report in June detailing nearly four decades of rampant sexual abuse and misconduct allegations.

The sexual abuse scandals have caused rightful outrage from the community on social media. A Me Too Cate School Instagram page and a R*pe Culture at Thacher Instagram page have been created, both detailing countless anonymous survivor stories.

Detectives and investigators with the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department have stated that they “believe there may be additional survivors or witnesses that have not been located or contacted” at this time.

Anyone with information related to the Da’Jon Tyrik James investigation is urged to contact Detective Sergeant Mark Valencia of the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office at 805-681-4150.

Our experienced attorneys can help you pursue a financial award for your personal injury case. Contact us online or by phone for a free consultation today.

Cate and Thacher School Sexual Abuse and California AB 218

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, it’s important for both students and parents to be aware of California AB 218, and how the legislation impacts sexual abuse civil lawsuits that are filed against Cate or Thacher. Under AB 218, any survivor of childhood sexual abuse has a limited window of time to file a claim and recover financial compensation.

Regardless of how long ago the crime occurred, AB 218’s three-year lookback window offers all survivors an unprecedented opportunity at obtaining justice. Claims that would have otherwise been barred due to the statute of limitations may now be brought before the courts, allowing thousands of childhood sexual abuse survivors the potential to recover substantial financial damages awards. But the deadline for filing a claim under the three-year lookback window expires on December 31, 2022. After that point, a majority of childhood sexual abuse survivors who have not filed claims, particularly those whose crimes occurred outside of the standard 10-year statute of limitations, will be left without legal recourse.

If you are a survivor of childhood sexual abuse, don’t let your opportunity at justice expire without securing the financial compensation you deserve. Contact the experienced and trusted attorneys in Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) Sex Crimes Division today for a free consultation.

AB 218 Treble Damages and Cate School Survivors

California AB 218 addresses a number of issues pertaining to childhood sexual abuse survivors. For a complete and detailed explanation of AB 218, please visit our helpful guide.

One of the most important elements of AB 218 (which many students and parents are unaware of) is the treble damages clause. The treble (triple) damages clause provides the courts with latitude to force defendants to pay three times the amount of actual compensation awarded in a settlement or verdict. In cases where a cover-up is proven, the treble damages clause would apply.

That means that if you’re a survivor of childhood sexual abuse as a result of a cover-up, and that cover-up is proven, a $10 million settlement award could actually amount to $30 million.

Treble damages are intended to send a stern message to sexual predators and institutions that have, for several decades, engaged in systemic cover-ups which allowed countless survivors to be senselessly harmed.

Securing California’s Leading Sexual Abuse Firm for your Cate School Claim

DLG was founded by a former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. As a sex crimes prosecutor, Dordulian helped obtain life sentences against some of our community’s most dangerous sexual predators.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

When he founded his own private practice – DLG – Dordulian created a Sex Crimes Division that would offer unique and all-encompassing representation through access to added resources and a support network of professionals. He established the SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) as a four-tiered network of handpicked sex crime professionals that offers survivors of childhood sexual abuse critical resources in addition to expert legal representation.

DLG’s SAJE Team is comprised of:

  • Litigation Lead: Sam Dordulian, former sex crimes prosecutor/Deputy D.A. for Los Angeles County with over 100 jury trial victories
  • Investigative Lead: Moses Castillo, DLG’s in-house Chief Investigator and a retired LAPD sex crimes detective with nearly 30 years of experience, including a tenure with the elite Abused Child Unit
  • Mental Health Lead: An in-house licensed clinical therapist with over 15 years of experience assisting survivors of sexual abuse in need
  • Emotional Support Leads: Two licensed and nationally accredited victim advocates who have devoted their lives to helping sexual abuse survivors

With DLG, survivors have 24/7 access to the entire SAJE Team at any point throughout the legal process (and beyond), providing an all-encompassing support network that is available to address any and all needs.

DLG’s SAJE Team advantage is critical in helping to ensure that survivors have access to the absolute best legal representation, but also the added support they need at any time. Our unparalleled experience and proven results are why sexual abuse survivors trust DLG with the important responsibility of handling their civil claim in pursuit of maximum financial compensation:

  • Over $100,000,000 successfully recovered in settlements and verdicts
  • A 98% success record maintained throughout the years
  • Former Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County
  • Former sex crimes prosecutor who has obtained life sentences against violent sexual predators
  • Over 100 jury trial victories
  • An in-house Chief Investigator/retired LAPD detective
  • Over 25 years of combined experience

Contact a member of the DLG SAJE Team today online or by phone at 818-322-4056 for a free consultation. We’ll listen to the facts of your case (at DLG, we believe survivors), launch a thorough investigation, and develop a precise legal strategy based on our years of experience and past success. We’ll fight to ensure your abuser – whether an individual or an institution – is punished to the fullest extent of the law, and you secure justice through the maximum financial damages award you deserve.

With DLG, you don’t have to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses. Our No Win/No Fee Guarantee means you never pay a thing until we recover the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your sexual abuse claim.

Don’t settle for an inexperienced or undedicated firm that could put your sexual abuse claim in jeopardy. Choose the trusted and proven SAJE Team at DLG. We’ll fight aggressively as your legal advocates, and will not rest until justice is obtained.


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