LEGGETT will probably have to lobby the DA's office to get the DA to pursue charges against Jeremiah 'Miah' Sotelo, Leggett's "pedi-texter," as Leggett's young people describe him. The DA is so far not taking action. A lengthy investigation by the Sheriff's Department revealed that Sotelo, 25, spent hours in electronic sexual conversation with several girls on his Leggett Junior High School basketball team. The girls he singled out for special attention were 13 years old when Sotelo began attempts to seduce them. It is also believed, but not yet confirmed by local authorities, that Sotelo slept with one of the 13-year-olds. This girl has reportedly made a full statement of her relationship with Sotelo to the Sheriff's Department.
CONFIRMATION of his wildly inappropriate conversations with underage girls was enough for the Leggett schools to fire Sotelo as basketball coach. Confirmation was also enough to win one set of Leggett parents a court order restraining Sotelo from having anything to do with their daughter. Sotelo did not contest the restraining order. If he had, he would have faced a recitation of his sex talk with the girls in open court.
SOTELO'S MOTHER, a teacher with the Leggett schools, claims her son is being persecuted by her son's victims and their parents. Mrs. Sotelo's on-campus behavior had deteriorated so severely that she has been suspended from her teaching duties. She has since written, or caused to be written, an entirely unhinged letter to the AVA claiming that she and her son are being pursued by the Ku Klux Klan, that all the accusations against him are false although they have been confirmed by the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department whose reports quote from them in explicit detail.
THE DA'S OFFICE — the kid who answers the phone anyway — said a report on the Sotelo matter had been filed with the DA but no action against him is anticipated. Prosecutor Jill Ravitch, to whom the case is assigned, did not return our call asking for clarification. There may, however, be some confusion over two separate investigations apparently being pursued by the Sheriff's Department; the first investigation was not able to get the affected girls to confirm that Sotelo had molested them, or had supplied them with marijuana and alcohol, as is suspected. The DA, lacking direct testimony, chose not to proceed. But one of Sotelo's victims is said to have given investigators a statement that she slept with Sotelo when she was 13. The status of this second report is unknown. But if the DA is ignoring the statement her failure to act is simply inexplicable.
THIS IS NEITHER here nor there, but Ms. Ravitch, ace prosecutor for the Mendo DA, might want to consider softening her voice mail, I mean her voice on her voice mail. Somewhere between a snarl and the screech of a wild creature, it's as if the DA is leaping through the phone line for your throat. "Raviiiiiiiiitch!" the savage message announced. I, fearing some terrible new telephonic police attack technology, instinctively thrust my receiver to arm's length as, trembling, I stated my business. Natch, Raviiiiiiitch! didn't return my call. The DA, like four of the five supervisors, don't feel any obligation to explain themselves to anybody but the puff ball sectors of the local media. The late Norm Vroman, the first and last human being to occupy the Mendo DA's office, not only was absolutely scrupulous about returning calls, his subalterns did too.