School secretary arrested for assaulting niece’s romantic rival

March 11, 2010

By KAREN VELIE

A San Miguel school secretary and two of her family members have been arrested for allegedly assaulting a pregnant teen in front of the victim’s two-year-old son, the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Department said.

All three defendants in the case, stemming from an incident last September, have pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor counts of battery and force and violence against 18-year-old Julia Savage.

The three are facing trial next month in San Luis Obispo Superior Court.

In the wake of the dismissal of the San Miguel school Supt. Dean Smith for an inappropriate relationship with a former student, the arrest of the three, two of them are public school employees in San Miguel, has raised concerns over the treatment of students there.

On Sept. 10, Savage was leaving the Mission Market and Deli in San Miguel with her two-year-old son when a silver four-door BMW pulled in behind the pregnant woman’s car, blocking it in.

Lillian Larsen Elementary School secretary Jo Anna Rojas, 42, along with daughter Jessica Rojas, 18, and niece Nicole Rojas, 23, approached Savage and demanded an apology for an earlier school-ground spray painting incident for which Savage was convicted, according to a sheriff’s report.

Savage refused to apologize and asked the trio to leave her alone because she was pregnant. According to the report, Rojas told Savage, “Well, I’ll hit you in the face. Your face isn’t pregnant.”

Then, the three began hitting Savage about the head, deputies said.

Deputy Michael Norris said that Jo Anna Rojas admitted grabbing Savage’s hair, though she claimed it was an act of self defense. One sheriff’s deputy at the scene said Jo Anne Rojas told him she was adamant about obtaining an apology from Savage even after the altercation.

Deputies then interviewed daughter Jessica Rojas, who originally claimed she had not participated in the assault. However, after the deputy informed her that the entire incident may have been caught by the market’s video cameras, she admitted to hitting Savage.

Jessica Rojas, who works with children in Lillian Larsen’s after-school program, told deputies the altercation “was a blur,” the report said.

The deputies said they then interviewed niece Nicole Rojas, who also admitted to hitting the victim after discovering they had been video taped.

A month earlier, on Aug. 3, Jo Anne Rojas reported to sheriff’s deputies that she suspected Savage was responsible for writing on a graffiti-covered wall on the south side of the elementary school’s cafeteria, claiming that her niece was “a fat #*&*#.” The deputies also discovered that someone had used the same yellow spray paint to mark up one side of Jo Anne Rojas’ BMW.

Nicole Rojas told the deputies that Savage was upset because the pregnant woman’s ex-boyfriend was dating her.

Deputies said they discovered Savage at her home with a large amount of yellow paint marking her hands. San Luis Obispo Superior Court Judge Martin Tangeman sentenced Savage to 30 days in the county jail for that incident.

Despite repeated calls from CalCoastNews, Jo Anna Rojas declined to comment on the altercation other than to say that it was not a newsworthy issue.

The jury and the court will not get an opportunity to view the incident because of an error that occurred while a deputy at the scene was attempting to download the tape onto a disk.

Only two minutes of the incident, prior to the reported assault, were captured by the deputy’s thumb drive.


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pasoparent5

I’ve dealt w/Mrs. Rojas numerous times. As a school secretary, let’s just say she wasn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. San Miguel is full of trailer park situations like this one–many just don’t get reported. That poor little town was probably a great place in the 40’s & 50’s but now it’s best to steer clear of that place.


lisastew

My whole point for the comment i left was if the reporter didnt get all the facts right even the little ones like who was who then whats to say the items she reported were correct!!!


cheseburger

liz you wrote that she wrote,.”not just graffiti but crude,rude and horrible things about Jessica and Nicole all because she was jealous!” Well that about sums it up, can she admit her fault? For your kids translate, sticks and stones can break my bones but words and spray paint can never hurt me. Actually spray paint and slander, if true, and compensatory, meaning worthy of causation, (DAMAGES), you could of had a case, had you reacted like an adult. YOU SHOULD OF JUST FILED A CLAIM WITH GIECO!


lisastew

Let me start off by stating i thought a reporter’s job was to gather all of the facts then report on the facts! 1st off Jessica Rojas is not Joannas daughter she is her niece.2nd Jessica was not the romantic rival she was his friend nothing more.3rd not only did julia spray paint all over the school grounds and all over joannas car she also spray painted on the old fire dept building in town (amoung others) and not just graffitti but crude,rude and horriable things about jessica and nicole all because she was jealous! The whole situation is 1 that could of been avoided none of us were there so lets not throw stones


Cindy

First, who cares who the daugher vs the niece was? Who cares who won the boyfriend vs if he was even a boyfriend or a friend that is a boy. I’d say it’s time to get your priorities straight, but by the sound of your post, I doubt that is going to happen.


“The whole situation is 1 that could of been avoided”. Yes it could have been avoided and that starts with adults using adult style solutions. I can’t believe your even trying to justify the actions of Joanna!


Did Joanna ever hear of reporting public and personal property damage to the authorities? Does she think punching someone in the face was worth the fact that she will lose her job and as a convicted criminal will have to secure a new position away from the public school system , worth it? What about the fines and penalties that will be imposed upon her by the courts, was it worth it over some graffiti that she didn’t like and some damage to her Beamer that was undoubtedly covered by insurance? IMO, your friend Joanna is a “nut case” and shouldn’t be working in the public sector. Her actions can not be justified by any way, means, shape or form.


cheseburger

lis Take a look at my first post,”NO ONE SHOULD TAKE THE LAW INTO THERE OWN HANDS”, and for such a juvenile ,two wrongs don’t make a right.! There is no escape, video tape! No matter how the cops handled it, and no matter if she spray painted the White House, black, or even tan, it’s wrong to hit another! Provoked or not lose your temper go to jail.


BeenThereDoneThat

I need help. I’m a little lost here. I have seen in a couple post accusing the cops of being incompetent. Now I have beat on some of the cop incedents on CCN as much as the next guy but in going back and rereading this article here, I can’t figure out why the dislike of the cops handling???


It seems to me that they did everything right and within their powers. Again what am I missing??


hotdog

“The jury and the court will not get an opportunity to view the incident because of an error that occurred while a deputy at the scene was attempting to download the tape onto a disk.

Only two minutes of the incident, prior to the reported assault, were captured by the deputy’s thumb drive.”


Though the comment is neutral and dry, I assume the deputy made a mistake here. I wonder why they didn’t get the tape, as well as download the signal correctly. What do you think?


Cindy

Opps, sorry hotdog, I didn’t see your post there. I would have left out my first paragraph otherwise.


Cindy

“The jury and the court will not get an opportunity to view the incident because of an error that occurred while a deputy at the scene was attempting to download the tape onto a disk.”

All in all the deputies did a good job, it’s just too bad that they had to screw up that recording because I’ve heard that the entire incident had been captured. Now it comes down to who said what and the police officers report. Unfortunately the camera that saw it all got erased by a deputy. I have no idea who the deputy is and its possible e does everything else right.


ososkid

been there, maybe it has something to do with deleting evidence


cheseburger

Bearkid, I agree but for what reason? Is the officer inept? Or just screwed up? This is an open and shut case of marginality. For what reason did we the people have to delete portions of the tape, let’s get to the bottom of it, some things left out, I don’t like it. Questionable at best.


cheseburger

Bearcub, I agree but for what reason? Is the officer inept? Or just screwed up? This is an open and shut case of marginality. For what reason did we the people have to delete portions of the tape, let’s get to the bottom of it, some things left out, I don’t like it. Questionable at best.


cheseburger

SORRY LOSOSKID, we live in the same town, I thought my comment was deleted, sorry to you, we are on the same side. Los Osos kid, Los Osos Cub! Hey I could of threw in Scout. The CSD screwed us both, absolutely no doubt.


mkaney

Jealous neurotic crazy girl who can’t take responsibility for her actions loses her irresponsible deadbeat boyfriend to equally trashy gangsta chick, despite trying to trap him into relationship with multiple pregnancies. Trashy gangsta chick calls homies who arrive in government-aid funded BMW and beat down crazy girl in parking lot while passive, clueless, gutless citizens watch. An incompetent self-glorifying public servant/martyr arrives and attempts to use simple technology beyond his comprehension to download data from a buggy video system installed by an incompetent but credentialed IT/security consultant.


Somehow, I feel nothing for any of the parties involved except maybe the unborn child. I’ve really just reached the point where what I do is analyze the situation for all the points in which money may have bene used that was taken from me under threat of imprisonment and/or violence.


God bless America!


BeenThereDoneThat

O.k. I have liked your posts on articles but I have to take you to task on this one. Beating up on this bunch of idiots I agree but why this statement below??


“An incompetent self-glorifying public servant/martyr arrives and attempts to use simple technology “beyond his comprehension to download data from a buggy video system installed by an incompetent but credentialed IT/security consultant.”


How do you know this or do you just view this group with contempt for some reason??


Most IT guys I know are pretty sharp and no I am not or do I have a relative that is one. I just thought quite unjust for no apparent reason.


Cindy

mckaney, IMO, sometimes you tend to over analyze and miss the forest for all those trees. We are talking about an 18 year old that was attacked by a 42 year old professional who is employed as a public servant within the school system. If that’s not bad enough, she beat up a pregnant mother in front of her two year old child, and this sociopathic “adult” took her daughter and niece along for the ride.

This is yet another unstable, public servant on the people’s payroll, how many more are there that we never hear about? I’m not pleased to learn about the incompetent deputy who is lacking the IT skills that our tax dollars more than adequately pay him to possess either.

I think I’ll start selling airline style puke bags that say, “Legal Recourse for Ignorant Citizens, Enjoy the Ride”.


mkaney

Ahh my apologies, I really didn’t mean that to get taken too seriously. I don’t know any of these people nor anything about them, I was just being illustrative at their expense. The only reason I made the joke about the IT person is because I am a software developer myself, and I was trying to give the cop a little bit of benefit of the doubt that maybe it wasn’t his fault. I meant it all as cynical humor.


hotdog

I think your first post was bitchen. Looks like the deaf leading the blind up there. And the cops, once again, botching a simple operation. Jeez..

And an 18 year old with a two year old (so she was knocked up at 15 or so the first time) now pregnant again-no man in sight. Sad commentary, very sad. Children having children.


BeenThereDoneThat

;-)


Scarlet

This story makes me ill. And to think that these two women work with children on a daily basis… I wonder if Dean Smith hired them? I also wonder how that deputy’s mistake will affect the case.


Cindy

My exact thoughts, Scarlet.


Vagabond

Do you know for a fact this woman worked with children? It doesn’t say so in the article

What were her duties at the school?


CitizenR

Wow. San Miguel’s finest citizens in action…..


cheseburger

While you do have a valid point it is strange for this you get a plus 11,”Wow. San Miguel’s finest citizens in action…..” when the post below, mine, the one about not taking the law into your own hands gets a plus 2,” seems this county wants to take the law into it’s own hands, maybe we can meet in the middle?


cheseburger

You can’t take the law into your own hands, no matter what, and for this find a real man,”Nicole Rojas told the deputies that Savage was upset because the pregnant woman’s ex-boyfriend was dating her.”or possibly find your own,,,,.Spray paint turned to physical aggression, things escalate,what’s next? These kids, all of the need a time out, especially the mother and the two attackers, the car can be fixed, an apology might have fixed this whole problem though and defused their hostility, everyone should take responsibility for their own actions, and never take the law into your own hands no matter how much you would like too. And everyone is at fault here, but legally the Rojas gang is going to foot the bill.


cheseburger

Another thought this is one hell of a stupid role model for the two other family members appalling,”“Well, I’ll hit you in the face. Your face isn’t pregnant.”


Then, the three began hitting Savage about the head, deputies said.”


This is the kind of thing that happens in third world countries,,,,I wonder if they feel any remorse?


thinkaboutit

I was making a purchase at a department store recently when a mom behind me in line kept verbally berating her little girl. The daughter appeared to be five or six years old and was just to the right of me quietly playing with a small Etch-a-Sketch type toy. The mother kept shouting for her daughter to “get your a$$ over here!” The child didn’t seem to be rebellious, but more lost in thought with her toy. Again, she had kept still and wasn’t being disruptive or even all that far away, but just steps from her mom.


But what does she do? She talks angrily to the girl as she approaches her and swats the side of her head. I was in disbelief. I said to the woman, “Seriously?!” The woman told me to mind my own business. I told her, “Don’t you treat your kid like that. She was just sitting there quietly!” I wasn’t one bit concerned about undermining this mother’s authority because I saw her behavior was an abuse of authority. If anything, I felt that child needed to see someone intervene on her behalf even a little bit to let her know that this is WRONG and no one deserves this..


Afterward, the mother glared at me as I got my things to leave the store. But her glare was less about offense as it was more of a sick grin. I found that more disturbing. I wonder if she felt smug about her own behavior. Such as these ought not to be mothers. I say, let someone else take care of your child at that point.


cheseburger

I agree a commend you for speaking out against this woman, a child of five will remember this swat to the head, like a right cross, you might of dropped a large can of re-fried beans on her toes, only if she wore sandals though, and at the same time you are yelling how sorry you are.

Was she of Spanish decent? Most Mexican people I’ve seen treat their own pretty well, my bet fat and white, was I right?


thinkaboutit

So now you’re attributing abusiveness to one’s race?


Again, wonders never cease…


cheseburger

You think about it, race has nothing to do with it, but I bet I was right and I am white too,!!


“Afterward, the mother glared at me as I got my things to leave the store. But her glare was less about offense as it was more of a sick grin.”


Like I said Mexicans treat their own exceptionally well, my bet white, the lady in the store for a point could prove me right! Oh that would be you, well let’s have the truth!/??????