Students at Riverside City College in California received a nasty surprise this week: Their recently-elected student government president is a registered sex offender.
Doug Robert Figueroa, 40, was convicted of kidnapping and then committing “lewd or lascivious acts” on a 14-year-old boy in 2005. He was sentenced to 10 years probation.
Earlier this week, someone posted a flier on campus revealing Figueroa’s status as a sex offender. The flier was initially assumed to be an April Fool’s Day prank, but Figueroa later confirmed the truth. The news stunned students, many of whom said they wished they had known before electing him to be student body president for the spring term, according to the Press-Enterprise.
“Everyone is going crazy now about this story,” said Amanda Warning, an RCC student and reporter for “Viewpoints,” the campus news service. After noticing the fliers, Warning went to a computer and found Figueroa’s mugshot on the online sex offender registry.
Students were also surprised to learn that RCC administrators knew about Figueroa’s status as a sex offender, but remained silent on the matter during the election.
“At that time, the administration reviewed the District policies, the law and the constitution of the Associated Students and determined that there was no policy, statute or ordinance that could prohibit this student from seeking office as student body president,” said a press release from the college.
Viewpoints published a statement from Figueroa in which he asked the campus community for forgiveness, understanding, and support:
“In holding a public student office, I understand that there will always be those that are malicious and try to prevent good from happening, whether you are president of a community college student body or the greatest nation on Earth. But I am a strong person, a strong leader and through the support of many friends and colleagues, I will continue fighting for the good of every student at Riverside City College. I will continue to serve as a civil servant; fight for what is right without looking back; teaching others about tolerance and understanding. I ask for your support in continuing to make a difference on this campus and in this world.”
Administrators noted that Figueroa agreed not to participate in Halloween and Easter events that involved kids, per the terms of his probation.
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