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Ventura County

Former Principal Guilty in Sex Case

March 05, 2003|Tracy Wilson | Times Staff Writer

A former Westlake Village middle school principal pleaded guilty Tuesday to eight felony counts of lewd conduct with a child, admitting that he engaged in sexual relations with a 13-year-old female student last summer.

Jonathan Andreas, 36, a Thousand Oaks resident who had administered Oaks Christian School, is expected to receive a 16-year prison term when sentenced next month.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, the sentence will be added to a 12-year prison term imposed in a separate child molestation case in Los Angeles County.

In that case, Andreas pleaded guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court last week to three felony counts of lewd conduct with two girls, ages 9 and 10, while they were students at Calvary Christian School in Pacific Palisades, where he worked as a third-grade teacher from 1996 to 1998.

On Tuesday, Andreas appeared in Ventura County Superior Court and pleaded guilty to eight more felony counts stemming from sexual encounters in late June and early July 2002 with a Thousand Oaks girl whose family he had befriended.

"He is very remorseful about everything he did," defense attorney Robert Schwartz said.

Standing outside the courtroom after the arraignment, Schwartz said his client inappropriately viewed the girls as "love objects." Schwartz said Andreas recognizes he has a problem and is receiving treatment.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Doug Ridley said the defendant not only violated the law, but as an educator at Christian schools he also violated the trust of children and their families.

"It's horrible, it's absolutely horrible," Ridley said of the crime. "I can't overstate the breach of trust in this case and the L.A. case."

Ventura County prosecutors initially filed a multiple-victim allegation that exposed Andreas to a potential life prison sentence. But as part of the plea agreement, they decided to drop the allegation after legal questions arose about whether it could apply to victims in separate cases in different counties.

"It raised some questions for us," Ridley said. "We just looked at what we thought was a fair disposition in the case. I think 28 years is enough time."

Authorities said Andreas began tutoring the 13-year-old Thousand Oaks girl in May 2002 and developed a friendship with her family. Authorities said the molestations occurred while Andreas was on a trip with the girl and her family, at the girl's home and at his apartment.

According to information secured through a search warrant, Andreas wrote love letters to the girl and told her parents he wanted to marry her.

Oaks Christian, which serves grades six to 12, fired Andreas after his arrest July 20. He began working as the middle school principal in fall 2000.

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