Campus supervisor charged with 76 counts of sexual assault

Edward Rote, 50, was arrested for allegedly having a longstanding relationship with a minor, who was not an OPUSD student

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50-year-old Edward Morgan Rote was charged with 76 counts of sexual assault on Sept. 15 regarding a long-standing relationship with a minor.

We are informed that the victim is not now nor was ever a district student and the alleged acts did not occur on any of our campuses,Superintendent Dr. Tony Knight wrote in a mass email to the Oak Park community.

At the time of his arrest, Rote was a campus supervisor at Oak Park High School, where he has worked on and off for the past 10 years.  Rote was immediately placed on a compulsory leave of absence. The school board met on Sept. 21 and moved to make his paid leave an unpaid leave. Termination is dependent upon the courts ruling.

Certain offenses mandate us to immediately place on administrative leave anyone who is arrested for charges that involve sexual contact with a minor or anyone furnishing controlled substances to minors,Principal Kevin Buchanan wrote in an email.

Prior to OPUSD being notified by law enforcement that Mr. Rote had been arrested and charged with these crimes, the district had no knowledge of these alleged activities,”

— Kevin Buchanan

When hiring, the district performs an extensive application and interview process which includes both professional and personal reference checks. Rote was subject to the same policies and requirements.

“Prior to OPUSD being notified by law enforcement that Mr. Rote had been arrested and charged with these crimes, the district had no knowledge of these alleged activities,Buchanan wrote.

The district conducts FBI, state and federal Department of Justice background checks on all employees and volunteers and also requires all faculty to be fingerprinted before coming in contact with students, according to Buchanan.

“We receive reports from these state and federal agencies if our employees are arrested for anything greater than an infraction, which would be something like a traffic ticket,” Buchanan wrote.

Rote was not previously convicted, therefore any information regarding the situation would not have surfaced on a background check.

If convicted of all counts, Rote may face up to 53 years in prison. The counts include lewd acts upon a child, oral copulation of a person under the age of 16, oral copulation of a person under the age of 18, sodomy of a person under the age of 16, sodomy of a person under the age of 18 and unlawful sexual intercourse.

Any person who participates in an act of oral copulation with another person who is under 18 years of age shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of not more than one year. In comparison,  any person over 21 years of age who participates in an act of oral copulation with another person who is under 16 years of age, is guilty of a felony, according to California Penal Code §288a(b)(2). The same is written about acts of sodomy.

The relationship began in 2004 when the alleged victim was 13 years old. Rote is a certified hypnotist life coach and a self-proclaimed animal communicator. He met the girl through a psychic-reading session set up by her mother. Their relationship continued throughout her time in college.

We do not have details regarding how this matter was reported to the Sheriff,Knight wrote.

Students are encouraged to speak to a counselor or contact the police if they have any information regarding the case.

As a school district, safeguarding the welfare of our students is our highest priority,”

— Tony Knight

As a parent and an educator, I know this information is concerning, and disheartening. I encourage all students to remember that self-advocacy is one of the most important tools to ensure safety for themselves and others,Knight wrote.

Currently, there are no further allegations from other victims, including all current and former Oak Park students. During his tenure at Oak Park, Rote supervised senior life skills retreats, field trips, summer school, drama and music events.

As a school district, safeguarding the welfare of our students is our highest priority,Knight wrote. We do all we can to protect our students.

Rote’s continued arraignment will be held on Oct. 15 at 9 a.m. in the Ventura County Superior Court. Currently, he is being held in Ventura County jail with bail set at $1 million.

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