US college student body president is sex offender

When flyers appeared at Riverside City College this week saying the student body president is a sex offender, students thought it was a cruel prank. They were stunned when they learned it's true.

Doug Robert Figueroa, 40, who was elected to a one-year term at the California college in May, pleaded guilty in 2005 to kidnapping and lewd and lascivious acts with a boy under 14, the Riverside Press Enterprise newspaper reported Wednesday. His five-year prison term was suspended, and he's serving 10 years' probation.

Figueroa told the newspaper in an e-mail that he has not tried to hide his past.

"Many students have been aware of my status, and we believe in rehabilitation," Figueroa said. "I dedicate my life to change the stigmas on these types of offences. Don't get me wrong, there are some offenders that truly need to be on high supervision."

College administrators released a statement saying Figueroa had notified them of his status as required, and that his name appeared in a publicly available binder identifying campus sex offenders at the college police department. They said Figueroa was told not to engage in activities that violate his probation, and he was not at the school's annual Halloween or Easter celebrations, where many children gather.

"The administration reviewed the district policies, the law and the constitution of the Associated Students and determined that there was no policy, statute or ordinance that could prohibit this student from seeking office as student body president," the statement said.

Registered sex offenders in the US can face restrictions on their activities and where they live. The American Civil Liberties Union is among the groups that have challenged some of the residency restrictions in court, arguing they aren't effective and could force some people into homelessness.

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