Ex-student gets 6 months in jail for O.C. college vandalism

A former Orange Coast College student was sentenced Thursday to six months in jail for vandalizing two campus security vehicles and violating an order to stay away from the Costa Mesa campus, according to the Orange County district attorney’s office.

Robert Bouton McDougal, 22, also received three years’ formal probation.

He pleaded guilty last month as part of a plea agreement to two counts of vandalism, three counts of resisting a peace officer, two counts of disobeying a court order, one count of providing false information to a police officer and one count of remaining on campus without consent, according to the district attorney’s office and Orange County Superior Court records.

Orange Coast College officials have said McDougal’s issues at the school started in February 2017, when he began constantly emailing his chemistry instructor asking to retake an exam with the help of a calculator. He had received a “B” on the test without a calculator, a lower grade than he expected.

The instructor, Amy Hellman, declined his request, according to transcripts of emails filed in Superior Court in March 2017.


A week after the exam, school officials said McDougal — who had dropped the course — barged into the classroom while other students were present. Security officers escorted him out of the building, but he ran back inside when they weren’t looking and sprinted in circles around the classroom, according to a Costa Mesa police report.

Prosecutors alleged that McDougal yelled a racial slur at a campus safety officer, and security officers eventually used pepper spray to subdue him after he kicked them, officials said.

In March 2017, a Superior Court judge granted a restraining order barring McDougal from entering the campus or contacting Hellman.

The same month, McDougal was suspended from all Coast Community College District facilities until March 2019, according to college officials.

However, he was arrested again days later on suspicion of carving a swastika and the N-word into the hoods of two OCC security vehicles and slashing their tires.

Prosecutors alleged McDougal returned to the campus several times in violation of the protective order.

McDougal filed a civil lawsuit against OCC this year alleging negligence, emotional distress, assault, battery and false imprisonment on the part of college officials.

McDougal’s attorney, John Christl, has said his client suffers from disabilities, and he alleged college administrators and Hellman didn’t provide McDougal with adequate resources to take the exam.