Suspect Identified in Student Sex Assault Case | Crime
By Keith Carls - email
ORCUTT - The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department and the Santa Barbara County District Attorney's office have revealed the name of a young man many have known about for awhile in connection with a student sex assault drama that has shrouded the tightly-knit St. Joseph High School community.
The Sheriff's Department says 18 year old Shane Villalpando was arrested for rape and other related charges on April 20.
The District Attorney's office has filed several felony charges against Villalpando including rape, illegal administration of a drug, and unlawful sex with a minor and dissuading a witness.
The Sheriff's Department and the District Attorney's office say they have reason to believe, based on evidence already collected in the case against Villalpando, that there may be other victims and witnesses in the community.
"I think it's important for people to understand that this is a sensitive investigation and there are a lot of emotions that are running high", says Sheriff's Department spokesperson Sgt. Mark Williams, "we definitely are seeking justice here, so if you have any information about witnesses or victims please contact the Sheriff's Office or the D.A.'s Office."
The Sheriff's Department says the alleged crimes Villalpando is charged with happened between January and April of this year and involved students at both St. Joseph's High School and Righetti High School.
Villalpando was a student a St. Joseph High School where Principal Joe Myers and former Dean of Students John Walker have been charged with failing to report alleged sexual assaults involving St. Joe students to local law enforcement.
Myers has been placed on paid leave pending the outcome of his case; Walker has already left the school.
Shane Villalpando remains free on bail and is due in Santa Maria court next month for the setting of a preliminary hearing involving the various sex charges against him.