Editorial – Holzworth


After months of investigations into the Jeffrey Holzworth embezzlement case, this week brought new revelations, an admission of guilt and the potential of a settlement deal.

The 28-year veteran SRJC District Police officer was arrested and  charged with embezzling more than $287,000 from Santa Rosa Junior College and new information from officers close to the case believe he may have stolen more than $1 million.

The district attorney and detectives say he spent the money – our money – on vacations, living expenses, prostitutes and gambling endeavors, including betting on NFL games and trips to River Rock Casino.

Holzworth’s attorney says he has “accepted responsibility,” meaning that although he pleaded not guilty Feb. 20, he has admitted guilt in statements he made to police.

Santa Rosa Deputy District Attorney Amy Ariyoshi plans to speak with the victim of Holzworth’s alleged crimes about his punishment. While the official victim is SRJC the institution, the Oak Leaf believes the students are the real victims. Our money lined Holzworth’s pockets and bankrolled his extravagant lifestyle instead of funding the district police and improving campus safety.
If proven guilty, Holzworth needs to pay the price for the damage done to our college and community. Some officers worry Holzworth will get off with a lenient reprimand from the Board of Trustees, compounding the injustice done to the student body.

Holzworth was the longest tenured officer before his retirement on the last day of 2012. Because he retired a day before 2013, he is exempt from Governor Brown’s newly implemented law, which would have withheld a large portion of a pension after committing a work-related felony. The California Public Employees’ Retirement System should not ethically pay out a pension to a thief who stole money for nearly a decade.

Students should have the chance to weigh in on the pending sentencing because the scandal directly affected us. If Holzworth gets to keep his pension, those who feel victimized ought to attempt legal action to have him pay the funds back out of pocket.

SRJC will see better results in the future with having multiple people fill in the position left vacant by Holzworth. The job was too financially significant for one person to handle with no oversight. Having a larger group of officers provides a heightened sense of  accountability and peace of mind for all.

The Oak Leaf fully supports the prosecution in pursuing the maximum sentence of 12 years in a state prison, securing justice for the student body and sending a warning to employees not to misuse their positions or violate the trust of the students and the college.

Once a sentence is handed out, SRJC’s administrators, faculty and students alike can hopefully put this rough period in our school’s proud history behind us to progress as a
united community.