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News

CORRECTION: Sex offender relocation is uncertain

Wollschlager

The Department of State Hospitals has presented conflicting information regarding the relocation of Sexually Violent Predator Ross Wollschlager. 

An email on Thursday, Jan. 13 from the Department of State Hospitals Office of Communication stated: "Regarding the property in Ojai, it is no longer being considered for SVP placement." 

But in an email sent Friday, Jan. 14 at 9:23 a.m., Ralph Montano, Information Officer from the Department of State Hospitals, stated; "Yesterday, DSH mistakenly identified that the Ojai Property was withdrawn from consideration for SVS placement. We were referring to a different property that had been withdrawn from consideration." 

The Ojai Valley News was made aware of the conflicting statements after Chief of Police Jose Rivera informed the OVN that the initial information provided from state hospitals was potentially incorrect on Thurday, Jan. 13. 

Wollschlager is listed as a transient living in an RV in Camarillo, according to the Department of State Hospitals.

On Jan. 7, Rivera posted on the Ojai  Police Emergency Facebook page that Wollschlager was “being considered for housing on Creek Road.” In that Facebook post, Rivera wrote, “I have a concern about him being in our community, so I will be going door to door in the proposed neighborhood to make folks aware of this.”

Community opposition to the proposed move was swift, communicated on social media and through the creation of an online petition, requesting Wollschlager not be relocated to the Ojai area.

This is the second time in a month that Wollschlager’s potential relocation has been opposed. An agreement for him to move to a house in Somis was rescinded shortly before Christmas, a week after the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office issued a press release warning the community about his proposed relocation.

The designation of “Sexually Violent Predator” is given to those convicted of a sexually violent offense, who have been diagnosed with a mental disorder, making them likely to reoffend. 

According to the Sheriff’s Office, Wollschlager was convicted of raping two women in 1983 in Ventura County at the age of 19. Two years after his release, he was convicted again of forced lewd acts with a child and two counts of burglary, all felonies, resulting in a 13-year sentence in state prison. 

The courts have ordered the Sheriff’s Office to assist in finding housing for Wollschlager since Wollschlager was released from Coalinga State Hospital in Fresno County in March 2020. 

Initial relocation plans date back to 2007 and have consisted of a rural area of Sacramento, Joshua Tree, Somis, and most recently, Creek Road. Wollschlager was living in a trailer in the unincorporated area of Ojai until December, when a permit parking program  expired Dec. 9, according to Rivera.

 

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