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Community outraged over convicted rapist possibly moving to Joshua Tree

A violent sexual predator could soon be calling the High Desert home, causing outrage among the people who live there.

Ross Wollshchlager, 56, of Ventura County, spent nearly 14 years behind bars for raping and molesting a 10-year-old girl as she slept.

Wollshalger was originally set to be released in Sacramento County but a judge found “extraordinary circumstances” that allowed for him to be placed outside Ventura County and into a home in a remote area of Joshua Tree, an area he has no ties to.

“Like it’s uninhabited, like there’s nothing here except Saguaro Cactuses and Cattle skulls but there are women and children and family here, and we desert the same protection as Ventura,” said Kristy Cardamone, a Joshua Tree resident.

It’s too close for comfort doesn’t even come close to how Joshua Tree residents feel about letting a serial rapist live among them. Residents gathered at a community meeting with officials tonight. Many who spoke up said they are worried about their schools, their bus stops, their women and children.

“Please think about our children. There are a lot of children in this community, and we might be in the middle of nowhere, but we still have the right to keep our community safe,” said Elia Lagos Duval, a Joshua Tree resident.

Many residents he belongs in Ventura County where his crimes were committed.

San Bernardino County Sheriff John McMahon says resources are too limited to always monitor Wollshalger.

“We don’t need somebody using those limited resources to keep our deputy sheriff from taking care of all of you,” McMahon said.

Captain Trevis Newport of the Morongo Basin station says there are just two deputies covering 2,700 square miles of county land, from Morongo Valley to Cadiz. He said he worries about the amount of time it could take police to reach the known re-offender.

“It could take over an hour with lights and sirens for them to respond,” Newport said.

A woman who lives across the street from Wollshlager’s proposed location says she’s now considering moving.

“He’s very, very likely to re-offend and I know that I would be a primary victim for this guy,” the woman said.

The San Bernardino Sheriff District Attorney’s Office and the Sheriff are headed to court in Ventura County on Nov 7 to voice the community’s concerns. That’s when they say a final decision will be made.

Stay with News Channel 3 for any updates.

KESQ 2019

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KESQ News Team

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