FARMINGTON — Board members of the Journalism Association of Community Colleges in California recently learned that one of their longtime volunteers has been charged in Utah with violating the state’s sex offender registry law.
Edgard Aguilar, 50, with an address listed in Syracuse, has been charged with one count of failure to register as a sex offender, a third-degree felony. He has a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday before Judge Glen Dawson in 2nd District Court.
As of Friday, Aguilar also has failed to register his current address with the state sex offender registry. The website says Aguilar is “non-compliant.” On Oct. 20, the address listed with the state was the Davis County Jail. Aguilar was arrested April 29 and was released on April 30 after Edson Franco wired $15,000 to the jail for Aguilar’s bail.
Aguilar had been convicted in California of rape in 1984, according to Utah’s state sex offender registry.
Aguilar was arrested in April by Syracuse police after a woman complained that Aguilar had inappropriately touched her. At that time he operated a photography business, specializing in nude photographs, from a home in Syracuse. The business was called GIO Photography and Aguilar was operating it under the name of “Giovanni Dimarco,” police said.
Police also said Aguilar reported every six months at the police station to register under his legal name as a sex offender, but failed to to register his photography business and the name he was using as a photographer.
Charges were filed against Aguilar in 2nd District Court in July.
An email sent to the Standard-Examiner on Oct. 20 contained a memo dated Oct. 8, 2014, to JACC Board of Directors from Patricia Stark, JACC State Faculty president. In it, Stark wrote that board members learned of a “volunteer/employee’s” background and that person’s services were terminated. She wrote, “And, apparently, past board officers knew about part of this individual’s inappropriate background, yet allowed the situation to continue.”
The email source, a person with knowledge of the California situation, told the Standard-Examiner the individual discussed in the memo was Aguilar, even though no name was mentioned in the memo.
The Standard-Examiner called Stark and also sent an email asking for an interview concerning Aguilar. According to Aguilar’s LinkedIn page, he lists he has been the “technology chair” for JACC since 2000 until present.
Stark responded in an email that Aguilar did not hold “the position or title of technology chairman. The position currently does not exist, or has it since JACC incorporated in 2006.”
Stark said Aguilar had been a volunteer “for a number of years, working primarily with the conference planning teams, handling technology.”
As of “Sept. 22, 2014, Mr. Aguilar is no longer associated with the JACC in any way,” Stark wrote. She also wrote that she could not comment on any specific personnel issues.
The JACC did not in the past do background checks on volunteers because the volunteers were either students or already affiliated with one of the colleges, Stark wrote.
The organization has now implemented background checks on all volunteers “except for faculty members already vetted by their colleges,” Stark said in her email.
The JACC, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1955 to help educators, students and publications in journalism at junior colleges in California. The organization has hosted conferences and conventions to help educators and students improve their journalism skills.
Aguilar has been one of the main presenters at JACC conferences for at least 11 years, according to schedules posted online. He was also listed online as one of the presenters at the April 2014 JACC convention. On that program, he is also called “the tech wizard for JACC.”
At the April convention, Aguilar received the “Extra Mile Award” from JACC for his work with the organization in 2012 and 2013.
On the 2010 program for the 30th Annual JACC Mid-Winter Faculty Conference, Aguilar was “thanked” and called “JACC technical wizard & designer.” He also facilitated a workshop on teaching Indesign.
In May 2003, according to a Mount San Antonio College news release, “Adjunct Journalism Professor Edgard Aguilar received the ’Journalism Association of Community Colleges’ Volunteer of the Year award” at JACC’s convention.
Aguilar also lists on his LinkedIn profile that he was an adjunct professor at Rio Hondo College and an assistant professor of journalism at California State University, Long Beach. Calls to the schools for comment were not immediately returned.
Aguilar also has journalism ties to Utah. His name, along with several of his aliases, is listed as the operations manager and staff of Utah Weekly News, from 2005 to 2010. The weekly paper was published by Beach Publishing Co., based out of California. On Aguilar’s LinkedIn profile, he lists he is the operations manager for the publishing company.