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Student says assistant principal who molested her is 'terrible man who ruined my life' [Updated]

September 16, 2009 |  7:45 am

The former student who was sexually assaulted by a Los Angeles assistant principal now feels “worthless and guilty," according to a probation report obtained by The Times.

Rooney The school official, Steve Thomas Rooney, was sentenced to eight years in state prison for molesting the victim and three other students.

 “I think Mr. Rooney is a terrible man who ruined my life,” she told a probation investigator seeking to determine his suitability for probation.

The report paints a picture of a respected educator who used his position to sexually abuse the youngsters he was meant to protect. In the case of one of the other victims, by her account, between ages 15 and 17 they had “long-term affair.” 

Much of the time Rooney was a dean at Foshay Learning Center, where that girl was a student. “He took me everywhere with him, even to New York,” she told a probation investigator. “He had sex with me as often as he wanted. I think over 150 times.”

She testified in a preliminary hearing in the case that Rooney got her pregnant when she was 16 and that she essentially lived at his downtown loft for portions of 2005 to 2007. They even visited his parents’ home in New York, where they had sex, she said

Rooney’s conduct was eventually investigated after the girl's stepfather threatened Rooney with a gun.

But the girl withdrew her allegations. The district reassigned him to Fremont High and then Markham Middle School as an assistant principal, where police allege he found two more victims.

One of those victims, the one who called Rooney a terrible man, told investigators that she was taken to his downtown loft, stripped naked and “raped twice and sodomized.” 

Rooney was eventually convicted of lewd conduct with the girl.

After Rooney’s arrest last year, the former Foshay student came forward again and revealed she kept a scrapbook that included photos of her and Rooney kissing and visiting his parents. She later testified that she continued the sexual relationship even after the initial police inquiry in 2007. She said Rooney got her to gather up all the items connecting them and give them to another dean, who hid them from authorities.

[Updated 8:23 p.m. An earlier version of this story confused the accounts of the two victims quoted.]

-- Richard Winton

Photo: Steve Thomas Rooney during sentencing Tuesday. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times