School Officer Convicted of Sexually Assaulting Girl

A school district police officer was convicted Tuesday of sexually assaulting an 18-year-old girl at a high school campus.

A Superior Court jury found Rodney Joseph Morris, 42, guilty on one count of assault under color of authority, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Carol Rose. The jury deadlocked on a second count of sexual battery. Morris faces up to three years in prison when he is sentenced Sept. 18.

Morris, a 22-year employee of the school district, saw the victim and her friend sitting in a parked car on the Compton High School campus on July 29, 1997, Rose said. He ordered the girl--who turned 18 that day--out of the car, then took her behind a building and fondled her, the prosecutor said.

Rose said Morris has been on administrative leave since his arrest the day of the assault. He is on probation after a misdemeanor conviction in 1995 stemming from a 1993 shooting in the Lennox area.

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