Lake Oswego School Board addresses arrest of former DEI committee chair
The Lake Oswego School Board released a statement Wednesday evening, March 31, addressing the arrest earlier this week of former Diversity, Equity, Inclusion & Access Advisory Committee co-chair Manny Espinoza.
Espinoza turned himself in Monday, March 29, after Clackamas County issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of attempting to have a sexual relationship with a minor back in February. In all, he faces five charges: three counts of luring a minor, one count of second-degree attempted sex abuse and one count of attempted furnishing alcohol to a minor.
According to Lake Oswego Police, Espinoza was communicating with a 17-year-old and was eventually intercepted at a local park when he was on his way to meet the victim with condoms and alcohol. LOPD Sgt. Tom Hamann told the Review that Espinoza was not taken into custody when the incident occurred in February due to a medical issue that caused him to be hospitalized.
"Our board is devastated by this turn of events, and our thoughts are with the young woman directly involved," the school board members said in the statement. "We also take very seriously the impact to our students, our community members, and especially to the fellow members who served on our DEI committee alongside and under the leadership of Mr. Espinoza during his tenure as a committee member from August 2018 to June 2020 and as the Co-Chair from August 2020 to February 2021."
The district will provide support resources to DEI committee members and participants, and the April committee meeting has been canceled.
The board will also be reviewing its advisory committee policies "to determine which policy updates are needed to provide greater due diligence in the committee member selection process and ensure that clear expectations and protocols are put in place to address committee member code of conduct."
While no additional victims had been identified as of Espinoza's arrest, the board encouraged anyone who was either harmed or knew someone who was harmed by him to contact LOPD at 503-635-0238.
"We are grateful for the bravery of the individuals who came forward to prevent further contact between Mr. Espinoza and the young woman who was targeted," the board said.
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