COD Students in Shock Over Sex Offender Assaults on Campus
Photo: Video by kmir6.com
PALM DESERT - A sex offender is in jail after he allegedly sexually assaulted two women on the College of the Desert campus.
The attacks happened more than a week ago but the college just notified students about them yesterday and students are in awe after finding out there was a sexual predator among them—not to mention, a fellow student. "I'm really shocked. I've never felt that my safety was in jeopardy and I feel perfectly comfortable walking around the campus, not being escorted by anybody,” says student Molly Cunningham.
"It's crazy. I never expected that to happen on this campus. Everybody made it sound like it was a safe campus and to hear that, it's kind of nerve wracking,” says student Breanne Bailey.
28 year old Jesse Timothy Lara was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting two females at the COD campus. School officials say he enrolled in COD as a student. Soon after, Lara allegedly approached and assaulted one student on the 16th. On the 17th, that victim came forward along with another victim. Lara pleaded not guilty to both charges.
The college didn't notify any of the students until Tuesday night--- more than a week later which angered some students. "That's kind of important information. Like, I would have like to have known prior because I could have been out one night and been a victim myself,” says student Ashley Robinson.
"They should warn us students-- that way we can prepare and better know our campus. Hearing about it eight days later, that's just not ok,” says Bailey.
"I think they should have told us immediately, even it was just a suspicion. I mean, I would want to know,” says Cunningham. Thursday, they notified the public in a press release from Head Security at COD, Ray Griffith. To see that press release, click here.
"There should be posters around the school-- maybe showing me who this person is because I’ve never seen him and I don't know if he's in my class,” says Cunningham.
These students say despite feeling safe, they will be taking extra precautions from now on. "I'm glad I park in lighted areas and spots where it's crowded,” says Bailey.
Lara is being held in the county jail in Blythe. He is expected in court Friday morning at 8:30 a.m.