Vacaville High School Teacher Accused of Lewd Acts with a Minor (CA Penal Code §288)

After several interviews and checking the text messages on the phone of a young girl, a warrant was put out for the arrest of Rodney Orosco, 47, an English teacher at Vacaville High. Orosco turned himself in to authorities upon learning of the warrant, but it remains to be seen whether he acted in a manner inappropriate enough to justify the charges against him.

In the state of California, Penal Code §288 covers “lewd acts with a minor” and, in cases like that of Orosco, the mind of the public goes to the worst possible places – that the child’s sexual organs were touched or that the child was fondled in some other improper manner.  However, what many Californians do not know is that these charges can be levied against a person who has not touched a child in a sexual manner at all.  For example, in Orosco’s case, the grandparent of the child in question saw him carry the girl across the stage at Vacaville High’s school theater.  Other circumstantial evidence seems to suggest that Orosco may have kissed the girl on three separate occasions.

Yet, is this enough substantial proof to ruin the career and life of Mr. Orosco, who seems by all accounts to be cooperating with the investigation against him?  It seems that charges of inappropriate behavior are becoming more and more common in California high schools in the past few years. Does this mean that there are more sexual offenders becoming teachers or does it mean, on the other hand, that there may be a trend forming – that academic pursuits have become so competitive that students are willing to do almost anything in order to get ahead?  Whatever the case, there is at least an argument to be made that California laws pursuant to Penal Code §288 go too far when someone like Orosco, a potentially caring and interested teacher, must deal with allegations of this kind.