Cuesta College analyst arrested

June 18, 2015

Lacey FowlerBy KAREN VELIE

UPDATE: Statement from Cuesta College, ““Cuesta College follows Education Code when hiring. There is a question in the official application that asks specifically about criminal offenses. Controlled substances and sex crimes are the only two things that a college legally cannot hire for. Cuesta College is made aware of any criminal convictions that are reported by the Department of Justice and any that the individual discloses during the application process.”

ORIGINAL: Cuesta College Police officers arrested a human resources analyst Wednesday evening on a felony charge of unlawfully accessing data.

Shortly before 9 p.m., officers arrested Lacey Fowler and booked her into the San Luis Obispo County Jail. By Thursday morning, both Lacey Fowler and her husband Chad Fowler had been released on bail.

On May 31, Lacey Fowler, who had been out on sick leave for several weeks, allegedly breached the campus data system remotely and then emailed employee names, home addresses, email addresses, phone numbers and Social Security numbers to her private email account.

Lacey Fowler has a long criminal history that includes a 2005 alcohol related reckless driving, an Aug. 2006 drunk driving, a Nov. 2006 DUI, a 2007 drug paraphernalia conviction and an arrest in 2007 for felony burglary and forgery.

In 2008, Cuesta College hired Lacey Fowler as a temporary employee.

In Nov. 2011, the 2007 felony charges were reduced to misdemeanors and then expunged. By expunging records the charges cannot be held against you, but it does not stop the release of information to public agencies.

In 2013, Cuesta College promoted Lacey Fowler to a full time employee position.

Cuesta College officials have not responded to questions about background checks and if employee applications include a question about felony convictions.

However, several campus staffers said that the application does ask if the employee has been charged with a felony and background checks are done before a person is hired or given a promotion.

Sources inside the college are saying Lacey Fowler should never have been hired.

On Thursday, officials at Cuesta College refused to answer any questions about background checks, applications for employment or Lacey Fowler instead either saying they would call back or transferring a handful of calls to random departments.

On June 11, Cuesta College Police officers and SLO District Attorney investigators searched the Paso Robles home of Lacey and Chad Fowler in response to the data breach and discovered more than four pounds of methamphetamine and heroin. The 30 acre property is owned by retired sheriff deputy Micheal Wasley, a relative of Lacey Fowler.

Campus police then called in SLO County Sheriff’s narcotics investigators to assist. Sheriff deputies arrested Chad Fowler on charges of possession of heroin for sale and possession of methamphetamine for sale, with an enhancement for possessing more than one kilo of methamphetamine.

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The first mug shot photo in the faces of meth poster…..wait ten years for the complete set.


I don’t disagree that there are issues here with her criminal past (consider the charges, that is) and her employment.

That being said I want to suggest a different possibility. From what I have read it does not appear that the information she sent herself is all that usable. What about the possibility that she was going to be out for a while and needed to get some work finished up so she unwisely emailed herself a database or spreadsheet that in addition to lots of other information, contained that sensitive information.

Meanwhile, because she had some conflicts with a supervisor in the office, they had been monitoring her email. When they found that information, they decided to use it to get rid of her, but in order to do so of course they had to formalize it and inform the authorities.

Meanwhile, the authorities, armed with a search warrant that should have specifically limited what was to be searched for and seized, was used to tear apart the entire place, thus uncovering the package of meth that her husband was basically trying to just middle-man in order to make a little profit to pay some bills.

Ok.. so.. this doesn’t absolve them of course, but it would certainly paint a different picture of them as people who made some really stupid choices but aren’t necessarily sinister. Anyway, just a thought.


(way too hot in north county today)

Is this your twisted sense of humor? You can’t be serious.


A true life scan back ground check costs in the excess of $350.00 per name… why do you think these skum bags keep coming to the surface? if Cuesta would have done a true back ground check with a felony burglary and forgery she would have never had access to that type of info

How does a registered sex offender get a job where children are regulars its because these employees are not getting back ground checks, recent California laws does not allow a employer ask about prior or current convictions but does require them to initial a box giving permission on a back ground check. The County and most all business in SLO County only requires a pre employment drug test and then you will only be tested if you are involved in a accident or suspicious, so there again buy a cleaner kit pass the test get a job and then start doing dope and still have a great job.

it’s a catch 22 situations, employers cant afford to pay the prices of a true back ground and the cities and state agencies that run these reports are charging too much $$$$.

fishing village

she and her husband are out on bail already, easy to continue their bad behavior?


If I were a judge and saw that big smile in her mug shot, I’d make sure to give her enough time to make it disappear. Oh, forgot our DA plea bargains everything. Probably get probation.


I am appalled at the Ed Code having sex crimes and drugs as the only non-hiring criteria for ex-felons. So you hired a person convicted of burglary (aka stealing) and forgery (aka identity theft) in HR. And since when does an HR employee have home access to sensitive records? Isn’t that a recipe for disaster? A person with this background should have never been hired for this department in the first place. And this woman’s relative where she and her deadbeat husband was living on the property with all these drugs! Seriously! The relative was her father who was a policeman. How terribly sad that this occurred at a college! Says a lot for higher education.


It’s the Gill Stork management style…….. waste, steal, and beg for more money


It amazes me the lack of care that this county has for drug/alcohol addicts. No wonder we hire them to teach our children, work in our colleges and give them access to public funds and private information. The good ol boy mentality needs to end!!


“Good ol boy”????? I think what you really mean is good ol gal. Take a hard look at SLO politics, and then tell me it’s about good ol boys.


I took that as figurative rather than literal. Even taken literally, it is still at least half accurate. I may doubt the integrity and ethics of A. Hill, Gibson, Ashbaugh, etc. but they are still male and still play as least as much of a role in sleazy local politics as Marx and her female allies.


Should this surprise anyone that a government employee has a checkered past? In SLOTown they have an employee who served seven years in a state pen on the doll. They had a registered sex offender working at the City. They had several officers prosecuted for illegally importing contraband, false imprisonment, forcing a CI to distribute narcotics, an manager direct staff to illegally dump hazardous waste at the city yard, a union leader misappropriate city assets for personal gain, a utilities worker grow marijuana at whale rock reservoir, a utilities work “get a little something on the side” – the conman, a utilities worker falsify paperwork to secure free services, a fireman nearly beat someone to death, a city attorney provide unsound legal direction, and much more. Then in AG, Paso, A-Town the criminal misconduct is off the charts. So why would anyone be surprised that a government employee in HR abuse their position of trust and deal narcotics. I think the real question, is who in local government socialized with this low-life, who was she supplying narcotics too in local government? Now these are the real questions. Local government officials and staff all stick together.


Nice. And this is the school that suckered people into voting to raise my property taxes!


Well some of us campaigned against the bond measure which was too much money and nothing more than a “honey pot” for Cuesta management.

The college pulled out all the stops on a campaign than was full of feel good platitudes. They also used students to make serial calls to voters urging passage.

I have not looked at the precinct data, but I suspect that many Poly and Cuesta student voters along with liberal areas of SLO pushed the measure to victory. Unfortunately, property owners will be paying the price for many years as will student renters as long as the rental market stays tight and landlords can pass along the new taxes to tenants. Talk about misinformed voters!


I campaigned too…but we were defeated by idiot voters. What makes me mad is that I already have property taxes going to Cuesta, Measure A raised them again, and I STILL had to pay $550 tuition/fees so my daughter could take three lousy classes there this spring! That doesn’t even count book costs and extra class fees that get begged out of us during the semester. I am so ready to campaign for anarchy, this “democracy” crap is getting us flushed fast. All forms of government are corrupt, the citizens are dependent on government for everything and they continually, stupidly, vote for more taxes. Measure A was especially unfair because most of the people voting for it are NOT property owners in this county and therefore don’t pay it!


Sad story. No surprise however.

We are living in this time as they were in the days of Noah.


Whenever people are living, they are living in that time, as people in the past lived in the days they lived in. Not terribly profound.