ESL teacher accused of helping O.C. jail escapees is kind and a ‘loner,’ friend says

The story of an Orange County jail escape took a dramatic turn Thursday with the arrest of a jail ESL teacher on suspicion of helping with the plot.

Who is Nooshafarin Ravaghi?

Ravaghi taught English-as-a-second-language classes at the jail through a community college inmate education program. She wrote a collection of children’s books about a young girl’s discovery of her Persian heritage, according to her website.


Ravaghi had been teaching in the jails since fall 2014 and passed a Sheriff’s Department background check, according to a statement released by the Rancho Santiago Community College District. She had been teaching at Men’s Central Jail for at least six months.

What do we know about her?

Ravaghi grew up in Tehran and spent much of her youth traveling around the world with her father, according to her personal website. She moved to California in 1997 after studying French literature in Tehran and Paris.

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She earned her graduate degree in education from Cal State Fullerton, the website said, and has taught English, Farsi and French to adults and children in Orange County. She also wrote an eponymous series of “multicultural books” for children titled “The Noosha Collection.” The book series aimed to foster tolerance, she wrote on the website.

A former colleague of Ravaghi, who asked not to be identified, described her as a hardworking tutor who rarely interacted with her students outside of the classroom.

“She was very kind to the students, a good tutor, but she didn’t really socialize with the students. She treated them like a teacher does,” the colleague said. “She seemed to be very ethical.”

The colleague, who hadn’t spoken to Ravaghi in about four years, also said the teacher was “kind of a loner.”

What is she accused of doing?

Orange County sheriff’s officials allege she provided one of the escapees with access to Google Maps, which would have allowed him to view the roof of the jail.

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Authorities allege Ravaghi, 44, and that escapee, Hossein Nayeri, 37, became friendly as he attended language courses she taught at Men’s Central Jail in Orange County, authorities said.

Nayeri had fled the United States twice to escape prosecution and was awaiting trial connected to a brutal torture plot that left a man burned, bleeding and near death in the Mojave Desert.


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O.C. jail escapee was ordered deported in 1998 but remained in U.S.