Judge rules 56-year-old convicted felon, child molester will not move to Joshua Tree following release

Posted at 3:16 PM, Nov 07, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-07 19:14:49-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — On Thursday, Senator Shannon Grove released a statement regarding a judge's ruling that a 56-year-old convicted felon and child molester will not move to Joshua Tree after residents protested.

In October, hundreds of Joshua Tree residents protested a superior court judge's order that would have sent Ross Wollschlager to their community. Wollschlager was convicted of two rapes in Ventura County in 1983, sent to prison and paroled a few years later. He was convicted again for rape and molesting a 10-year-old girl while she was sleeping, which also occurred in Ventura County.

He is set to be released from a state mental hospital and was reported to be moving into a small rental property in Joshua Tree only accessible by dirt roads.

"Please think about our children," said one attendee of the meeting. "There's 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."

At Thursday's hearing, Ventura County Superior Court Judge Nancy Ayers ruled that Ross Wollschlager will not be placed in Joshua Tree.

In a statement, Senator Grove said:

"The residents of Joshua Tree can breathe a sigh of relief now that the ruling has been determined by Judge Ayers and this convicted rapist will not be living in our community near our families and children. The convicted sexually violent predator has no ties to the high desert so there were no extraordinary circumstances to release him to a community where he did not have any connections. I thank Judge Ayers for listening to the concerns of the residents here, understanding their fears, and ruling to not place the convicted felon in this community."

KABC contributed to this article.