Behind the Curtain: Sexual misconduct accusations break at Moorpark College


The Moorpark College Performing Arts Center on April 22, 2022. Photo credit: Shahbano Raza

By Shahbano Raza

**Due to legality and confidentiality reasons, this publication cannot release the suspect’s name until further investigation and action is taken.

Moorpark College students have been coming forward on various social media platforms to share their recent experiences of sexual misconduct on campus. These students have been urging the administration to take immediate action against one individual, who they maintain is a 26-year-old student with multiple Title IX violations.

One student reached out to the Moorpark Reporter directly to share her story and the stories of those around her.

Isa Rojas is a second-year student at Moorpark College and a theater arts major. She informed the Moorpark Reporter that she and other women on campus have experienced unchecked harassment. Rojas has been reposting on her Instagram account posts from other students regarding their sexual misconduct allegations and/or frustration with the school administration’s handling of Title IX.

Rojas and others explained on social media that the alleged harassment has been taking place primarily in the Moorpark College Performing Arts Center, where the accused student has been performing and directing in theater arts productions.

“For me, [the sexual misconduct] was in the PAC setting,” Rojas said. “For a lot of my friends, it was as well.”

For Rojas and others, the harassment started in January during the school’s production of “Kinky Boots.” That was when the accused student had joined the college’s theater arts program, Rojas said. She relayed that her harassment began when she and the accused individual were rehearsing for “Kinky Boots” in the garage outside of the PAC.

Dylan Woodford (Left) and Christopher J. Thume (Right) perform in “Kinky Boots” at the Performing Arts Center on March 9, 2022 in Moorpark, CA. Photo credit: Claire Boeck

“We had practices outside in the garage,” Rojas explained. “I felt this one rehearsal in particular, he started looking at me, and when he would look at me, he would write in his journal.”

In that journal, the accused student was writing highly suggestive and sexual poetry, which Rojas discovered after the individual requested to read the poem out-loud to her. After the poem was read to her, he tried to kiss her, despite her explicitly saying, “No.”

“I told my friends I felt really uncomfortable by him,” Rojas said.

Rojas filed a Title IX complaint against the individual and received a directive of no contact, intended to keep both parties separate.

“Yet, I see him on campus all the time,” Rojas said.

For Rojas, the outcome of her Title IX case was ineffective and didn’t do enough to make her feel safe and comfortable on campus. According to Rojas and others, the accused individual is still partaking in theater department activities, including the fall 2022 “Student One Acts.”

Theater Arts Professor Suzanne Fagan expressed that the theater department supports its students and has been addressing students’ safety and well-being concerns. 

“The theatre arts faculty stand with all of their students and their need to be heard and helped,” Fagan said. “Throughout, we have had meetings with the Title IX coordinator and even went as a whole department to meet with our vice president of the college to relay our concerns for all involved students.”

Multiple sources relay that more than one Title IX complaint was filed against the individual in question. A TikTok posted by second-year Moorpark College student Talia Guzman details yet another sexual misconduct experience at the hands of a 26-year-old student. The TikTok was filmed behind the Performing Arts Center on campus and posted on the night of Dec. 9.

“This is Moorpark Community College, where when I was 18, a couple months ago, I reported being sexually assaulted by a student,” Guzman said. “No repercussions happened to him except for him being told not to speak to me or about me.”

“Six separate Title IX cases have been filed against him and he is still being allowed in spaces and positions of power where he is left alone with young women,” Guzman added. “He has displayed consistent predatory behavior towards the young women on this campus, and nothing has been done about it. No one is looking out for us, and it has to end.”

As outlined by the college website, Title IX is a federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination in education.

In accordance with Title IX, schools are obligated to take immediate steps to address sex-discrimination, sexual harassment or sexual violence on campus.

California law has reaffirmed federal Title IX guidelines and added additional provisions for state-funded higher education institutions to address sexual harassment and sexual violence. Some of these state-issued mandates require schools to designate a school employee to coordinate Title IX efforts as well as publish on the school website the Title IX coordinator’s contact information and grievance procedures for resolving sexual harassment complaints.

While Title IX provisions and procedures are in place at Moorpark College, students have expressed that their sexual misconduct allegations have not been adequately or promptly addressed.

“The school has known about this since January,” Rojas asserted.

In response to the gaining momentum of student outcry, the Associated Students of Moorpark College hosted a special meeting in the campus center conference room at 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 12. The meeting allowed campus community members to give public comments on the ongoing sexual misconduct allegations and Title IX complaints at the college.

The Moorpark College administration has also responded to students’ frustrations. In an email sent out to students and staff on Monday afternoon, Moorpark College President Julius Sokenu explained that the college is addressing students’ concerns. 

“Our priority is the safety and well-being of all our students; we continue to support students as they bring their concerns to the correct campus authorities,” Sokenu said. 

“As required by federal and California law, the College has a Title IX coordinator whose responsibility is to help students navigate the process. In this work, we recognize and protect the rights of all students and ensure due process to those accused of violations,” Sokenu added.

On Tuesday, Dec. 13, the college held two town halls about Title IX in the campus EATM building. During these town halls, Sokenu, Vice President of Academic Affairs John Forbes and other administrators addressed the function of Title IX as well as its misconceptions. Students and professors who attended the town hall in person or through zoom, were provided with the opportunity to ask questions about Title IX or submit public comments relating to the issue at hand.

On the school’s last day of the fall semester, Dec. 15, Rojas put on a demonstration in protest of the school’s handling of students’ Title IX complaints. The protest took place at the intersection of Collins Drive and Campus Park Drive. Participants wore black to show solidarity with the college’s victims of sexual harassment. 

Prior to the protest, Rojas thanked her peers for coming forward with their experiences of sexual misconduct.

“I appreciate you all for sharing your stories with me, supporting, and listening,” Rojas wrote. “We are going to do this.”


* This story is part of a series to document the ongoing sexual misconduct accusations at Moorpark College.