Students at Riverside City College were stunned this week to learn that their student body president, Doug Robert Figueroa, is a registered sex offender, The Press-Enterprise reported. Anonymous fliers were placed on bulletin boards on campus informing people that he had admitted in court that in 2005 he had kidnapped a child under the age of 14 and committed "lewd and lascivious acts" on him. A prison term was suspended at sentencing and he instead was placed on probation for 10 years. Students told the newspaper that they were shocked, and some said that they wished they had known prior to the election.
Via e-mail Figueroa told the newspaper: "Many students have been aware of my status and we believe in rehabilitation.... I dedicate my life to change the stigmas on these types of offenses. Don't get me wrong, there are some offenders that truly need to be on high supervision."
He also published a letter in the student newspaper, Viewspoints. "Do not let life’s mishaps define who you have to be. I have made mistakes in my life, but I have learned from them, accepted the consequences of them, made a difference in my life and will continue to make a difference for the lives of those in my community. Don’t get me wrong, it has not and will not be easy and there will always be those that find humor in bringing you down, but we all must choose to be resilient so we can overcome anything," he wrote. "In holding a public student office, I understand that there will always be those that are malicious and try to prevent good from happening, whether you are president of a community college student body or the greatest nation on Earth. But I am a strong person, a strong leader and through the support of many friends and colleagues, I will continue fighting for the good of every student at Riverside City College."