By Erik Galicia
For the second time in eight years, a convicted sex offender ran unopposed for the Associated Students of Riverside City College presidency.
Albert Jaramillo, 45, was charged in 2011 and convicted in 2014 of lewd or lascivious acts with a child under the age of 14.
His past was exposed to unknowing ASRCC members during a recent Inter-Club Council meeting when a student expressed concern in the Zoom chat. Jaramillo said he addressed the student’s comments with other council members after the meeting.
ASRCC held a live forum allowing students to question election candidates May 12, before the election closed the following day. According to sources, no one questioned Jaramillo about his conviction during the meeting.
“This is public knowledge,” he said. “I’m not going to say, ‘Hey, my name’s Albert, I’m on the Megan’s Law.’ If you confront me, I will address it.”
Some administrators and ASRCC members were aware of his conviction, he said.
But some students are calling for Jaramillo to address it during a second live forum.
According to an anonymous source, Student Activities coordinator Deborah Hall has been approached about such a forum but said the proposal must go through RCC administrators and the Riverside Community College District Human Resources Department.
Hall said via email that a written response to Jaramillo’s situation is in progress but did not agree to an immediate interview May 13.
Jaramillo said he is willing to address the matter during a live forum with the student body, but will not go into detail about his conviction.
Tristin Morales, Jaramillo’s running mate, said he was aware of the conviction before they decided to run for office.
“It was not my place to really say anything to the students since it is his personal life,” he said.
Morales said he is not judging Jaramillo for his past and bases his view of his running mate on the person he has become during his time with ASRCC.
A similar situation played out in 2013, when a Viewpoints staff member found a flyer on campus that exposed then ASRCC President Doug Figueroa as a convicted sex offender. Figueroa was convicted of kidnapping a child under the age of 14 “with intent to commit lewd or lascivious acts.”
RCC administrators were aware of Figueroa’s conviction as well.
Jaramillo said he served three months in county jail for his crime and was placed on probation for three years. He then served two years in prison for a probation violation, which he said was related to him not informing his probation officer of where he lived.
The presidential candidate, who is still on parole, was released from prison in October of 2018 and began attending RCC during the winter 2019 term. He quickly became the Inter-Club Council representative for the Transitioning Minds Club and has served as the Inter-Club Council director for the past two years.
According to a source, there are minors in the Inter-Club Council with whom Jaramillo interacts. Jaramillo said that although he understands safety concerns, he is not a threat.
RCCD Police Chief Shauna Gates said minors are sometimes present on campus due to RCC’s Gateway to College Program. Offenders may sometimes be given clearance to be around minors if provisions allow, but that is decided by their parole officers, she added.
Jaramillo was allowed to be on campus during RCC’s Halloweentown in 2019, which attracts many children. Jaramillo said he provided a letter to RCCD police stating that he had permission from his parole officer to be on campus.
Gates said she would look back in the department’s records for the letter and follow up. The RCCD Police chief also said the department’s obligation is to ensure Jaramillo is registered with campus police every time he registers for courses at RCC.
Jaramillo said his parole officer has noticed all the positive things he is doing and has been easing restrictions on him for some time.
“With my charges come a ton of restrictions,” he said. “I have shown my parole officer that I am not a problem. I’m not a threat to society.”
Jaramillo added that he constantly discloses his activities to his parole officer, many of which require him to be around minors, and is given clearance to attend the events.
His assigned parole officer could not be reached May 14.
Jaramillo also said he has undergone counseling as a parole requirement and has been reduced to the lowest level of supervision.
“Everyone’s talking about safety, but no one’s talking about what I’m doing right,” he said.
Jaramillo was on the committee that provided emergency ASRCC stimulus checks to students during the fall semester. He has earned the Veteran of the Year Award and serves on the Call to Action Task Force to combat anti-Black racism.
“But no one sees any of that stuff,” he said. “They see the charges and raise their walls and say, ‘He’s a threat.’”
Although his election had not yet been announced as of May 13, Jaramillo said he would not step down from the presidency.
“No other student stepped up to be student body president,” he said. “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.”