A 45-year-old registered sex offender is running unopposed to be student body president at a community college in Southern California.
According to the Press-Enterprise, Albert Steven Jaramillo is running for the position and has been a student Riverside City College (RCC) since January 2019. During his tenure at RCC Jaramillo served as the director of special events and is currently the director of the Inter-Club Council.
Some have expressed concern about Jaramillo’s involvement in the Inter-Club Council because there are minors in the group, the RCC student newspaper Viewpoints reported.
RCC spokeswoman Peggy Lomas praised Jarmaillo’s student government leadership and involvement.
“In student government, he’s been nothing but a model leader,” Lomas told the PE.
In 2011, Jaramillo was charged with two felony counts of lewd acts with a child under 14-year-old as well as a misdemeanor for “look[ing] through [a] hole or opening” with “intent to invade privacy,” according to Riverside Superior Court Public Access documents that Viewpoints obtained. The California Megan’s Law website, which serves as a database for registered sex offenders, indicates Jaramillo pled guilty in 2014 to “lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14 years of age.”
Students have expressed concerns over having a convicted sex offender as their student body president.
“What’s disheartening is when there’s no consideration being given to survivors of sexual abuse. It is what it is and you just have to deal with it,” RCC student Caresse Boulter told the Press-Enterprise.
“Now that this news is out, what’s going to be done for students interested in joining clubs or in student government?” Boulter asked. “It’s actually triggering to see that there’s somebody who has this record who’s now in the position of power making decisions for students.”
Jaramillo said he understood why students had concerns about his status as a sex offender.
“I understand the severity of the nature of my offense and have taken tremendous steps to learn and grow from it,” Jaramillo said in a statement to the PE. “I will continue to advocate for students to ensure that victims of any crime can receive the help they need. I will also advocate for formerly incarcerated students, of any crime, to be allowed the same opportunity to achieve higher education in a safe college environment.”
In addition to serving in student government on-campus, Jaramillo also serves as the student body representative for the Riverside Community College District’s Board of trustees, the PE reported.
According to the Press-Enterprise, this is not the first time a convicted sex offender has run for student body president at the community college. In 2012, a now-48-year-old Doug Robert Figueroa “served two one-year terms from 2013 through 2015,” the spokeswoman confirmed.
Figueroa, who pled guilty to “two felony counts of kidnapping and sexually abusing a boy under the age of 14,” spent one year in prison and 10 years on probation. When Figueroa ran for student body president, he reportedly alerted RCC officials but “there was no policy, statute or ordinance prohibiting from serving in office.”
Figueroa’s convictions came to light after a Viewpoints staff member found a flier, with the charges listed, on campus, the campus newspaper reported at the time.
Even if elected, Jaramillo says he will not step down from the student body president position.
“No other student stepped up to be student body president,” he told Viewpoints. “You have a student who has a criminal past — who society wants him to never see the light of day — still stepping up and still volunteering to be student body president.”
A previous version of this article misstated Figueroa’s age; It has been corrected to note that he is now 48.