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VENTURA COUNTY FOCUS | WEST COUNTY / CAMARILLO

Meeting to Focus on Molestation Cases

March 25, 1998|DAWN HOBBS

Camarillo Heights Elementary School officials said Tuesday they have scheduled a meeting for Friday at 6 p.m. on campus to answer questions from parents worried about news of a 15-year-old girl suspected of molesting two children from the school.

A notice will be sent home with students to invite parents to the meeting.

Authorities also offered new details about the alleged sexual assaults. The more detailed account differs slightly from that offered by officials last week.

The first incident occurred last April after the teen, then 14, enrolled as a new student at the school, Ventura County Sheriff Sgt. Dave Williams said. But after determining she was too old for elementary school, the principal asked the teenager to leave and advised her mother to enroll her in a middle school.

While on campus the teen observed sixth-grade students assisting in the kindergarten class. The next day she returned to the kindergarten class as a helper and molested a 5-year-old in the school bathroom and behind a puppet theater area, Williams said. The victim's parents later filed a lawsuit against the Pleasant Valley School District alleging negligence.

While the teenager was on informal probation for the first offense, authorities said, she was arrested on suspicion of molesting a 9-year-old girl at her home near the campus March 10.

The teen had been introduced to the girl the day before by a third student, a sixth-grade girl who met the teen during her brief stay at the elementary school, Williams said.

While the three were together at the teen's home, the teen suggested the youngest girl skip school, he said.

"The luring occurred through the conversation on Monday," Williams said. "It was premeditated. There is no question about it."

After the 9-year-old's mother dropped her off on campus March 10, she went to the teenager's house, where she was molested for several hours, officials said.

"She left campus on her own free will to . . . ditch school," Williams said. "The suspect was never on the school campus."

The teenager is in custody at a Ventura County juvenile facility awaiting hearings on both incidents.

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