BREAKING: On Friday morning, Jan. 13, Mammoth Unified School District Superintendent Rich Boccia told The Sheet that Dr. Andrew Bourne had resigned from the MUSD Board of Education.
“He did not attend the Board meeting last night, but we received an email with his resignation this morning,” Boccia said. “It was a wise decision.”
As of Thursday morning, Mammoth residents Joseph T. Walker, 48 and Dr. Andrew C. Bourne, 46 had bailed out of Santa Barbara County Jail.
The two men were arrested on Jan. 4 on several charges relating to an inappropriate sexual relationship with a Santa Barbara girl who was under the age of 16.
Bail had been initially set at $1 million each.
At a hearing in Santa Barbara Superior court on Tuesday morning, Judge George C. Eskin heard from Attorney Ron Bamieh, representing Dr. Bourne, and Samuel K. Eaton, representing Mr. Walker. Both argued for a reduction in bail.
Several declarations written on behalf of the two men were presented to the judge, who described them as representations of all the good things these men stood for.
This may have played a role in the Judge reducing bail to $750,000 each.
Reduction in bail also included the following conditions: no contact with direct or indirect witnesses; no contact with unrelated minors or the alleged victim; electronic monitoring; gps installed on cars.
After the Judge made his announcement, Bourne’s wife Gilann began to shudder and cry. Joe Walker did not betray any emotion and neither did family members (father Sam, mother Shelley, brother Chris) who were present in the courtroom.
The arrest was made following a months-long investigation. Police say over 1,000 emails and other electronic communication were obtained as evidence.
The content of some of those emails was revealed by Santa Barbara Deputy D.A. Mary Barron on Tuesday to show that Messrs. Bourne and Walker posed a flight risk and should not have their bail reduced.
The emails provided the first small glimpse of state’s evidence.
Barron said both men had talked of “fleeing” at some point.
Barron said evidence showed how one of Bourne’s vehicles had been equipped with enough supplies and weapons to last a few days and had $5,000 dollars in it that his wife was unaware of.
It was suggested that Bourne had outfitted the vehicle because he had a plan to flee with the young girl.
Barron also stated that Bourne and the girl, currently a sophomore enrolled at a private school in the Santa Barbara area, had even discussed possible suicide as a way “out” and to “escape.”
The D.A. maintained that the inappropriate relationship between the young girl and the two men had existed for two years, and that Bourne had kept up communication with “Jane Doe” until up to about a month ago. Mr. Walker, in some of the emails exchanged, said that he would continue the relationship once the girl turned 18.
Barron used terms like “brainwash” and “manipulate” when referring to what the men did to the girl to keep her so infatuated. She indicated that she anticipates filing additional charges before the preliminary hearing, scheduled for January 19.
Below, are a few paragraphs from the attorneys.com website to explain the bail process:
“If the defendant does not have enough cash to post the entire bail, the court will accept a bail bond. A bail bond is a promise by an insurance company to pay the entire amount of the bail if a defendant does not show up for court proceedings. The insurance company, through a bail bond agency, will charge a premium for posting the bond. For example, if the court requires $10,000 in bail, the insurance company could charge a 10 percent premium, or $1,000, to post the bond. The company will also require a guarantor to sign for the bond as well. This person will guarantee to pay the insurance company the $10,000 if the accused does not show up.
“If the accused appears at trial, the court returns the insurance company’s bond, and the insurance company keeps the $1,000 for posting the bond. However, if the accused flees, the insurance company loses the $10,000 it posted with the court and will require the guarantor to reimburse them for it. The company may also hire investigators to find the accused and bring him or her to court. If they are successful, the company’s bond will be returned.”
The Sheet asked Mammoth Unified School District Superintendent Rich Boccia if the current allegations against Bourne had any bearing on his status as a member of the Mammoth Unified School District’s Board of Education.
According to Boccia, Bourne has not at this time violated any of the policies that would necessitate the creation of a vacancy on the Board.
According to section 9223 of the Board Bylaws, there are 13 reasons why a vacancy would be created on the Board. These include death, physical or mental incapacity, resignation, removal including recall, moving from the state or district, absence from the state for an extended period, ceasing to discharge duties for more than three months, conviction of a felony or designated crime, and/or voiding of a member’s election or appointment by a competent tribunal.
“Legally the Board can’t vote him off,” Boccia said. Board members are publicly elected positions and ultimately serve as the Superintendent’s boss.
Legal or not, The Sheet asked individual Board members whether they thought Bourne should retain his seat.
“I don’t think it’s fair to comment on that,” Board member Greg Newbry said. “The Board needs to follow a legal perspective. Technically he [Bourne] hasn’t done anything wrong. It’s not fair to do something to someone who has not been proven [guilty].”
Fellow Board member Jack Farrell explained why he could not comment.
“When this happened, we decided that Rich would speak for the Board and the District,” Farrell said. “So I have no comment. Whatever Rich says is representative of the Board and the District.”
“I’m not going to make a comment or a judgment about the law or about government code,” added Board member Gloria Vasquez. “It’s the law. He [Boccia] shared with us the list of itemized things that would remove any of us from office. At this point Dr. Bourne does not fall under any of these items.”
MUSD Board President Betty Kittle simply had “no comment.”
According to the MUSD website, Bourne’s term expires in 2012. Mono County Clerk Lynda Roberts stated that school board elections would be held in November.
“Right now the Board needs to keep its eye on education,” Newbry continued. “This [the allegations] is still new and mind boggling and we are still scratching our heads about it. We have to talk to our attorneys and do what is right.”
The Board held a special meeting on Thursday evening, Jan. 12. The only item on the agenda was a closed session regarding “Public Employment: Public Employee Performance Evaluation (Government Code 54957) Superintendent.” When The Sheet spoke with Boccia on Tuesday, Jan. 10 he expected that Bourne would be present at that meeting if he had posted bail.
It does appear that one condition of Dr. Bourne’s bail – no contact with unrelated minors – may prevent him from serving on the Board as typically, minors are present at Board meetings.
Mammoth Hospital CEO Gary Boyd said Thursday that Dr. Bourne still maintains an office and a locker at the hospital. The locker, however, was cleaned out this week according to a hospital employee.
Mr. Walker was employed as a ski coach at Mammoth Mountain at the time of his arrest. MMSA CEO Rusty Gregory said Mr. Walker had been hired this fall.
Finally, a correction from last week’s story. Mr. Walker is recently divorced, though his former wife says they remain on good terms.