A Santa Barbara County man has pleaded guilty to making criminal threats against a local school district.
Randall Graham, 45, of Goleta, appeared in Ventura County Superior Court Tuesday to enter his guilty plea.
Graham was arrested by authorities in Ventura County after he left two voicemails in October 2022 in which he threatened to kill the superintendent of the Conejo Valley Unified School District, as well as other employees in the superintendent’s office.
The threats were made, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, because Graham was upset over undisclosed school district policies.
Around the time of Graham’s arrest, the school district’s leadership team released a letter to parents and students in which it said no schools were ever threatened directly, but that the school district had become the target of unfounded rumors that resulted in “social media warfare and print disinformation campaigns.”
According to the Ventura County Star, an uncorroborated story regarding a student masturbating in class was published on several conservative-leaning websites, which accused CVUSD Superintendent Mark McLaughlin of defending the alleged behavior.
The school district called the alleged incident, and McLaughlin’s purported defense of it, unfounded, the Star reported.
Graham was arrested on Oct. 15, 2022 and appeared in court two weeks later, at which point he entered a not-guilty plea and was released after posting bail.
But on Tuesday, he changed his tune and admitted to making the threatening voicemails, with a special allegation that he threatened great bodily harm.
Graham is due back in court on May 5 to receive his sentence.