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Urgent community meeting Oct. 21 on possible release of sexual predator in Joshua Tree

Third District Supervisor Dawn Rowe, Sheriff John McMahon and District Attorney Jason Anderson will conduct an urgent community meeting in Joshua Tree on Oct. 21 regarding plans by the state to release sexually violent predator Ross Wollschlager into Joshua Tree.

District Attorney Jason Anderson

Sheriff John McMahon

Supervisor Dawn Rowe

The purpose of the meeting is to “present information to concerned community members and voice our collective opposition of Wollschlager’s placement within San Bernardino County, for the specific purpose of public safety and awareness,” Supervisor Rowe said.

Today, Oct. 17, the District Attorney’s Office announced it had received a letter from the State of California Department of Hospitals concerning a residential placement recommendation made to the Ventura County Superior Court for the community placement of Wollschlager, who was committed as a sexually violent predator, into the community of Joshua Tree.

Under Welfare & Institutions Code §6609.2, the sheriff has authority to give notice of any impending release of a sexually violent predator. During Monday’s meeting, the Sheriff’s Department will summarize the court proceedings to date, as well as those subsequently scheduled, while informing the public regarding options available to the community.

The meeting will take place on Monday, Oct. 21, at 5:30 p.m. at the Sportsman’s Club, 6225 Sunburst St. in Joshua Tree.

 

2 Responses to Urgent community meeting Oct. 21 on possible release of sexual predator in Joshua Tree

  • To whom it may concern regarding Ross Wollschlager and his placement in our Joshua Tree Area:

    As a point of introduction, I am a longstanding resident of our High Desert Community, since 1985. I am a local Realtor. I have a concern for all aspects of our community and its families, including my own. This concern extends not only to the personal well-being of our residents, but to the values of their homes that they invest in, and the future they wish to build upon within our High Desert region.

    Since 1985 I have called this area my home. I purchased a home here. This is where I met my husband. We raised four kids here, because, even though we have our own set of crime problems up here, it is, overall, a small, safe, and loving community. Things are changing, though. Ventura County is looking to force further negative change within our community.

    I currently live less than a mile outside of the Joshua Tree zip code, just on the other side of Copper Mountain, less than 5 miles from where they are looking to place Ross Wollschlager.

    When my husband got out of the Marine Corps, he decided to stay in this area. He is a contractor now, and spends much time away from home on jobs out of area, and sometimes out of State. I have a career here as a Realtor, so I stay behind, alone. We own a home 2 ½ miles down a dirt road, on five acres, and in a remote area. Like many areas out here, street names and signs do not match GPS mapping systems. Emergency response time is ridiculously slow, and actually dangerous if you are in need of help. There are many families that live in areas such as mine. This is a very rural community. It places our residents in further harm’s way having another criminal, such as this, in our locale. Our Law Enforcement Resources are stretched thin. Distances and dirt road access to homes can be difficult especially when addresses cannot be properly mapped. Emergency services cannot locate people easily from a 911 call. I have called for services before. I feel very vulnerable out here in my remote area. We are an entire community that is extremely vulnerable.

    Our High Desert Region is also home to a large Military Base. Our proud Military Families are stationed here, serving their Country, away from the homes and areas where they grew up. They would be unaware when newly arriving to our area, that here resides a criminal that poses a threat to their wives, children or female military personnel. Our Military and their Families are vulnerable here. While their husbands are in the field, the wives and children remain home alone. We own two rental properties. It is always a question of the wives and their spouses, “Is it safe here?”, “Will my family be okay when I am in the field or deployed?” How do I answer now, and in the future, should you place this violent, re-offending rapist and child molester in our community?

    This person, Ross Wollschlager, has no ties to our community. He has no friends or community support here. His life and his crimes existed someplace else. That is where he should remain; someplace else.

    We are also home to a large tourist attraction, Joshua Tree National Park. Per the National Park’s website, (https://www.nps.gov/jotr/learn/news/joshua-tree-national-park-sets-new-visitation-record.htm), the annual visitation of the National Park grew from just over 2.5M in 2016 to 2,853,619 this past year. That is an increase of over 338,000 visitors to Joshua Tree National Park in 2017 and the continuation of four consecutive years of record visitation numbers. This brings many people from out of the area, State, and Country to our region. They have no idea what dangerous criminal may be amongst them. Our National Park visitors are another vulnerable group. As a community, our area relies on the income visitors bring. As a Realtor, I have sold many homes to those that have turned their properties into camping opportunities, and vacation rentals in remote areas. The vacationers will be unaware that they are at risk whilst camping outdoors, without the security of alarms or doors, or walls to protect them from this violent rapist. This has my clients in fear. They have contacted me looking for answers on how to sell their investments within our community, even at a loss of revenue. This is a very disturbing situation as well. It will impact our fragile economy.

    Our Police Force and Sheriff Department are underfunded, and staff is sparse at best. Crime rates continue to grow from outside influences moving into our area. The Departments are burdened. With the Marijuana Farms that continually pop up out here illegally, due to recent laws that were passed that encourage this, we are seeing an increase of the other drugs that follow the criminal activity, such as methamphetamine, and, unfortunately, heroine. Drugs lead to further crimes. Our Law Enforcement has more than enough crime to handle with few County Resources to fund.

    This Rapist, Ross Wollschlager, has already admitted to drug use as being one of the complicating factors that inspires him to commit other heinous crimes. In an area that has an existent drug problem, without adequate Law Enforcement to control and monitor, does this not sound like a further dangerous placement?

    This is not a proper placement for Ross Wollschlager. This Community cannot, and does not want the burden upon our resources or safety of our people. I urge you to please reconsider! Please select another area. We are vulnerable with Military Families, National Park Visitors, remote rural areas with slow emergency response times, and a burdened Law Enforcement and poor community coffers.

    Thank you for your consideration of my plea on behalf of myself, my family, my clients and the community I love,

    Melissa (Shupp) Anderson, Realtor

  • Keep him out of our county!

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