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The Region

School Trustee Accused of Molestation Waives Trial

Courts: Judge will decide the case of Ventura County board member Albert Rosen.

June 06, 2002|TRACY WILSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A Ventura County school board member accused of molesting a 6-year-old girl more than 30 years ago waived his right to a jury trial Wednesday and submitted the case to a judge, who is expected to rule next week.

Superior Court Judge Charles McGrath warned retired teacher Albert Rosen, a 75-year-old Simi Valley resident, that he would most likely find him guilty. McGrath presided over Rosen's preliminary hearing on molestation charges last year and found there was sufficient evidence to order him to stand trial.

Despite the warning, Rosen waived his right to trial and asked McGrath to determine his guilt or innocence based on transcripts from the preliminary hearing.

"It was my decision," Rosen said during a court appearance. The judge plans to hear arguments Tuesday morning and then announce a ruling.

A longtime member of the Ventura County Board of Education, Rosen is charged with 10 counts of lewd conduct with a child younger than 14. Prosecutors allege Rosen forced a 6-year-old girl to engage in sexual conduct with him between 1966 and 1971.

If convicted, Rosen could be placed on probation or sentenced to life in prison. Either way, Rosen plans to ask the court to stay his sentence pending an appeal, said Oxnard attorney Joseph O'Neill.

The defense plans to challenge the constitutionality of a state law that permits prosecution of certain sex crimes after the six-year statute of limitations has expired.

O'Neill said the charges against Rosen were filed decades after the alleged crimes occurred, making it difficult for the defense to challenge evidence or witnesses' testimony.

On Monday, O'Neill filed a motion to dismiss the case based on his objections to the state law. But McGrath denied the motion because the law has been upheld by the California Supreme Court and because Rosen's previous lawyer raised a similar objection that was also rejected.

Rosen, who is free on $50,000 bail, remains a member of the school board, but he could be removed from the panel if convicted of a felony, prosecutors said.

In December, board members asked Rosen to step down, but he refused, saying: "There's no reason for me to resign."

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