Llanusa, co-defendants plead not guilty to charges connected to holiday party

Former CUSD Board of Education President Steven Llanusa. Courier photo/Steven Felschundneff

by Steven Felschundneff | steven@claremont-courier.com

Former Claremont Unified School District Board of Education President Steven Llanusa has pled not guilty to three misdemeanor counts stemming from a holiday party at his residence in December.

Llanusa, 63, and his co-defendants Tandy Robinson and Blake Taylor White were at Pomona Superior Court on April 27 for their arraignment hearings.

Llanusa entered not guilty pleas to two counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor and a single count of providing alcohol to a minor under 21. The charges against Llanusa are misdemeanors punishable by up to a year in county jail or a $2,500 fine, according to California state code.

Robinson pled not guilty to a single count of providing alcohol to a minor under 21.

The most serious criminal offenses filed in connection to the party are against Temecula resident White, who pled not guilty to two counts of lewd or lascivious acts with a minor 14 or 15 years of age in which the defendant is 10 years older than the victim, and four counts of annoying or molesting a child. If convicted, the felony counts of lewd or lascivious acts carry penalties up to three years in prison.

The criminal case against the three co-defendants arises from a holiday party at Llanusa’s home on December 3, 2022, where members of the Claremont High School Choir performed. During the party, the students were allegedly offered alcohol and exposed to “inappropriate behavior” from some adult guests.

After news of the party spread across social media, parents of the teens and other community members called for serious consequences for Llanusa and any other public officials in attendance. After his colleagues on the CUSD Board of Education issued a de facto no confidence vote on December 9, Llanusa resigned his seat the next day. He served on the board for 17 years and had recently been elected to another four-year term.

The three defendants are scheduled to be back in court on June 29 for pre-preliminary hearings.


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