‘Sexually violent predator’ released in Ventura County to live as transient

An ex-convict designated as a “sexually violent predator” following a string of break-ins and sexual assaults in Ventura during the 1980s was released to live as a transient in a nearby unincorporated area this week after court officials deemed him safe to return to the community under conditional release, authorities said.

Ross Wollschlager , 56, pictured in a photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department on March 19, 2020.
Ross Wollschlager , 56, pictured in a photo released by the Ventura County Sheriff’s Department on March 19, 2020.

Ross Wollschlager, 56, was released Tuesday into an unincorporated community just north of Ventura, according to Ventura County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Ryan Clark.

“Although Wollschlager has no criminal cases pending against him, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office feels compelled to notify the community that Wollschlager was released from the Department of Hospitals on March 17, 2020 and plans to stay in the unincorporated area of Ventura County, north of the City of Ventura,” Clark said in a written statement. “Wollschlager has no residence and will be registering monthly with the Sheriff’s Office as a transient.”

Wollschlager’s criminal history dates back to 1983, when he was arrested in Ventura in connection with multiple sexual assault cases, officials said. He was ultimately convicted of two counts of rape and sentenced to eight years in state prison.

“During Wollschlager’s crimes, he typically entered the residences of his victims late at night or in the early morning hours when the residents were asleep,” Clark said. “Additionally, he would prowl at night and watch occupants through their windows.”

Following his release, Wollschlager broke into several inhabited Ventura homes in 1989, Clark said.

“On one of these occasions, he sexually assaulted a child under the age of 14,” the sergeant said.

He was convicted the following year of forced lewd acts on a child under 14 years old and sentenced to more than 13 years in state prison.

Wollschlager was designated a “sexually violent predator” in 1997.

A sexually violent predator is defined as “a person who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or more victims and who has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior,” Clark explained. “The aim of the Sexually Violent Predator program is to confine and treat offenders until they no longer present a threat to society.”

Court officials issued a determination on March 12 that Wollschager was safe to release under a conditional release program operated by Liberty Healthcare, sheriff’s officials siad.

“Liberty Healthcare will be responsible for supervising Wollschlager in the community and assuring that he complies with the terms of his release,” Clark said. “These terms include that he must wear an electronic monitoring device, refrain from using alcohol or drugs, and avoid bars, nightclubs and places frequented by children.”