The superintendent of the Shoreline Unified School District, a 40-year education veteran, was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of child molestation.
Robert Patrick Raines, 67, was booked into Marin County Jail on a count of lewd and lascivious acts against a child younger than 14. His bail amount was $50,000.
Raines, who is just weeks away from his retirement, was released on bail Tuesday afternoon pending a review by the district attorney’s office.
“The allegations are false,” Raines said when reached on his cellphone. He said he is lining up a defense attorney and declined to comment further.
The bombshell lands on the district as it wraps up the school year and prepares for Tomales High School’s graduation ceremony on Friday. The arrest also accelerates the transition for Tomales High School principal Adam Jennings, who was selected months ago as Raines’ successor.
Jennings, in an email to the constituency on Tuesday, said he expects the allegations against Raines to “spark much emotion and cause much sadness.”
“I intend to work tirelessly to lead our school community through this very challenging time,” Jennings wrote. “Counseling and supports will be put in place for any students, staff or families who desire them. I know and admire this community and I am confident that, together, we will make it through this difficult period.”
The investigation started on June 1 after the school district learned of the alleged conduct and reported it to authorities.
“The health, safety and well-being of all of our students is our most important priority,” said Mary Jane Burke, the Marin County superintendent of schools. “It is the mandate of all schools to follow all relevant laws with regard to any allegations of child abuse. The district took swift and immediate action notifying the Marin County Sheriff’s Office and placed Mr. Raines on leave.”
Sheriff’s detectives took Raines into custody Tuesday morning at his residence on Sonoma Avenue in Petaluma. The sheriff’s department said it would not release more information about the case, and did not say whether the alleged victim is a student in the district.
The department asked anyone with potential information for investigators to call Detective Lauren Patton at 415-473-7265.
“We are shocked and saddened by the news of the arrest of Mr. Raines,” said Jill Manning Sartori, president of the school district board. “The safety and well-being of children is our highest priority at Shoreline. Our hearts are with the family affected by this incident.”
Julie Cassel, president of the Shoreline Education Association, the teachers’ union, said, “As educators, the health, safety, and well-being of all of our students is our top priority. We do not take these matters lightly, and we support an immediate investigation into these serious allegations.”
Raines, who started his career as a teacher in 1981, is slated to retire at the end of the month after five years at the school district.
Before joining the district, he spent eight years at the Alexander Valley Union School District in Healdsburg, where he worked as superintendent and principal. He has also been principal at West Marin School, principal at Wright School in Santa Rosa and superintendent and principal at Wilmar Union School District in Petaluma.
The Shoreline Unified School District has about 500 students at Bodega Bay School, Tomales Elementary School, Inverness School, West Marin School and Tomales High School.