Fired Guard Faces Trial in Assault Case

Ventura County prosecutors allege that John Gerald Mitchell, a youth counselor at the California Youth Authority's Ventura School near Camarillo, used his position to force sex upon a 17-year-old female prisoner last year.

Mitchell, 41, was arrested and fired from his job in January, and is charged with statutory rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object and sexual battery.

Free on $10,000 bail, Mitchell has denied the charges and is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 4.

His attorney, Edward Whipple, has argued that the district attorney's case depends solely upon the testimony of the alleged victim, who was committed to the Youth Authority after a conviction in Fresno for robbery while armed with a deadly weapon.

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