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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | OJAI

Teacher Suspended Following Arrest

January 15, 1998|SCOTT STEEPLETON

A 31-year-old religion teacher has been suspended from his job at Villanova Preparatory High School while the Sheriff's Department investigates allegations that he had unlawful sexual intercourse with one of his teenage students, authorities said.

James Eric Woodstock Jr. of Ventura, an instructor at the 75-year-old private school at 12096 N. Ventura Ave. in Ojai, was relieved of his duties Tuesday following his arrest by sheriff's deputies, said the school's principal, Brother Luke Maher.

"He has been suspended pending further investigation," Maher said.

Authorities said the 17-year-old girl with whom Woodstock is accused of having sex was a consenting partner. However, engaging in sex with someone under 18 is a crime, said Ventura County Sheriff's Det. Maureen Hookstra.

"She's a minor, and he's an adult in a position of power," Hookstra said.

The girl's name has not been released because of her age. Authorities said the girl has not been in class since school resumed Monday.

Woodstock, who had been held in the County Jail in lieu of $50,000 bail since his arrest at 4 p.m. Tuesday, posted bail Wednesday and was released at 3:30 p.m.

Students and teachers at the school were "shocked and dismayed" by word of Woodstock's arrest, Maher said.

School officials have been in contact with the girl's family and have sent a letter to parents of the 270 students, informing them of the incident and assuring them that the alleged sex acts between the teacher and student were an isolated situation.

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