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2 More Sexual Attacks Revealed at Cal Lutheran

A Cal Lutheran University spokeswoman said after a recent campus rape that she knew of no other sexual attacks in the history of the Thousand Oaks campus, but a review of security records shows three such cases since 1997.

In the most recent case, 18-year-old freshman Alejandro Castaneda was jailed and charged with six felonies stemming from an attack on a 17-year-old freshman girl on Oct. 15. Included are three charges of forcible oral copulation, one of forcible sodomy, one of forcible rape and one of penetration with a foreign object.

For the record:

12:00 AM, Nov. 18, 1999 For the Record
Los Angeles Times Thursday November 18, 1999 Ventura County Edition Metro Part B Page 4 Zones Desk 2 inches; 44 words Type of Material: Correction
Crime Watch--An item in Monday’s Crime Watch column inaccurately characterized remarks made by a Cal Lutheran spokeswoman about sexual assaults on the Thousand Oaks campus. The spokeswoman acknowledged that there had been three rapes on the campus since 1997 and provided crime statistics on those attacks.

In the other cases, one each in 1997 and 1998, two people reported being the victims of a “forcible sex offense” that occurred on campus, according to campus police statistics provided later by the university spokeswoman.

In the earlier cases, the allegations were told to a counselor or therapist at offices either on or off campus who then reported the crimes to campus security officials.

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The rape claims are classified in the statistics as unverified reports because the alleged victims declined to assist authorities in any follow-up investigations.

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People using and selling drugs at cheap motels frequently get busted and sent to jail, but rarely does a motel owner in Ventura County wind up in trouble for renting rooms to suspected dopers, authorities said.

Such may be the case, though, for Murlyn Wolstenholm, the 75-year-old owner of the Circle W Motel in Ventura, authorities said.

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During a recent police raid at the motel, Wolstenholm was cited for allegedly maintaining a location where illegal substances were being used and sold, said Sheriff’s Sgt. Bob Garcia, one of a dozen cops who swooped in on the motel late last month and arrested five people for allegedly using or selling controlled substances.

The raid was the second time the law had visited the Circle W, Garcia said.

In April, undercover detectives bought drugs from some of the same suspects in rooms at the motel, Garcia said. At the time, the cops told Wolstenholm that drugs were being sold in the rooms and he was given the names of the responsible parties, Garcia said.

“Several of these same suspects remained at the motel and continued to sell narcotics after Wolstenholm was advised of the situation,” according to Garcia.

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Wolstenholm, who has run the motel for more than 40 years, has denied knowing about the drug problem and said he will fight the citation in court.

According to prosecutors, the maximum penalty for such an offense is a year in prison, which, by the way, is also known as the gray bar motel.

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Since its start in the county a dozen years ago, Crime Stoppers, a local hotline people can call with anonymous tips on unsolved crimes, has been a critical tool for cops.

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Since 1987, phone tips have led to 515 arrests, the seizure of $800,000 in narcotics and the recovery of more than $340,000 in stolen property, officials said.

Tips have resulted in arrests in five homicides, including four men who were jailed in the shooting death of a Port Hueneme apartment landlord who was robbed and killed for a fist full of rent money he had just collected.

There have also been arrests in five rapes, 50 armed robberies, 56 burglaries, three assaults, 79 thefts and 223 auto thefts.

More than 100 fugitives have been captured after their faces and Crime Stoppers phone numbers, 385-TALK and 494-TALK, were publicized in local newspapers.

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Of the 50 or so tips the hotline receives each month, more than 80% are strong leads on fugitives, officials said.

Interestingly, Crime Stoppers, a national program that started in New Mexico, is operated and funded solely by private citizens.

“Here’s a program where people can give information and not worry about retaliation. That’s a pretty powerful tool,” said Walt Morris, a Crime Stoppers board member.

The board works to raise the reward money given to people whose tips lead to an arrest and charges being filed. So far, more than $40,000 has been paid out. The rewards vary between $50 and $1,000, depending on the complexity of a case.

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Either payout is a nice chunk of change for a phone call.

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The sheriff of Jefferson County, Colo., where America’s worst school shooting occurred at Columbine High last April, is scheduled to talk about the tragedy during speeches this week in Moorpark and Oxnard.

Sheriff John P. Stone will speak at Moorpark High School on Tuesday and at the former Oxnard High School campus Wednesday. Both presentations are free, open to the public and run from 7 to 9 p.m.

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Stone agreed to come to Ventura County at the urging of officials with the local chapter of Cops ‘N’ Jocks, a national program that places cops at local high schools to establish a rapport with student athletes.

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Holly Wolcott can be reached at 653-7581 or by e-mail at holly.wolcott@latimes.com.


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