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Calif. school official used position to recruit prostitutes, officials say

By Stephen Ceasar, Los Angeles Times –

LOS ANGELES — The Moreno Valley Board of Education vowed to keep working as usual despite the latest scandal involving trustee Mike Luis Rios, who was arrested this week for the second time since February.

The first time, Rios was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, prosecutors say. And on Wednesday, police arrested him on suspicion of raping two women, pimping and using his position as a school board member to recruit would-be, and sometimes underage, prostitutes.

“We need to continue to work together the way we did when Mr. Rios was unavailable,” Board Vice President Cleveland Johnson said. “We’ve been through this before; we’re going to continue to work hard in spite of this recent activity of Mr. Rios.”

Rios is scheduled to be arraigned Friday. If convicted, he could face a life sentence.

The board can’t remove Rios from his seat unless he is convicted.

They can, however, invoke a state law that allows an elected official to be removed from office if he effectively abandons his seat by not attending meetings or performing duties for three months.

Rios is alleged to have shot at two people outside his house in February following an altercation at a night club, prosecutors say. No one was injured. He was charged with two counts of attempted murder, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon and one count of dissuading a witness, according to Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Michael Brusselback, who is prosecuting both cases.

During the investigation into the shooting, Riverside County investigators became aware of other possible crimes.

Investigators allege that while recruiting potential prostitutes, including two who were underage, Rios told one woman he was a school board member and asked if she needed a job. Another woman answered an Internet ad, and Rios offered a girl the use of his vehicle if she would work for him, investigators say.

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