What was at first seen as a harsh April Fools' Day prank quickly revealed itself as the unnerving truth that Riverside City College (California) student body president, 40-year-old Doug Robert Figueroa, is a convicted child molester. Anonymous black-and-white fliers were posted throughout campus with Figueroa’s mugshot, a list of his convictions, and the title “Molester Of Children!”
The flyers were removed quickly, as they did not have permission from Associated Students office, though their impact obviously remained.
Figueroa was sentenced to five years in prison in 2005 for admitting he kidnapped and committed lewd and lascivious acts on a boy under the age of 14. In 2006 his prison term was suspended and he was place on a 10 year probation, which ends April 2016.
In an email, Figueroa explained, “Many students have been aware of my status and we believe in rehabilitation … I dedicate my life to change the stigmas on these types of offenses. Don't get me wrong, there are some offenders that truly need to be on high supervision.”
The college had been informed of Figueroa’s status and worked with the student body president to make sure his probation terms were not violated. In the case of the schools Halloween Town or Bunny Hop events, which children attended, Figueroa was absent.
Although Figueroa claims that he was open about his past, the students of Riverside Community College were met with shock. The flier questioned if a background check was completed and why the students were not better informed.
“I think they should have told us,” Amanda Waring, 20, a RCC theater arts student said. “If they knew this was happening they should have made it common knowledge. If he is going to have a job like that and be president and interact with everybody on campus. Now it’s a scandal. They should have told everyone.”