School superintendent faces child molestation charges

06/09/2021

Bob Raines, the superintendent of the Shoreline Unified School District for the last five years, was arrested on Tuesday for lewd acts with a child under the age of 14. The district reported the incident to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office a week earlier and placed Mr. Raines on administrative leave. Detectives developed probable cause, and Mr. Raines was arrested at his home in Petaluma, according to a press release from the sheriff’s office. He was released on $50,000 bail and is denying the allegations against him.

Mr. Raines was set to retire at the end of the month after a 43-year career in education.

The school board called a special meeting on Wednesday to consider firing him and discuss an anticipated lawsuit in a closed session.

Brenton Schneider, the spokesman for the sheriff’s office, said investigators do not know of any other incidents involving Mr. Raines, but he encouraged any victims to call detective Lauren Patton at (415) 473.7265. He would not comment on when and where the acts allegedly occurred.

The district also would not say if the victim was a student, but incoming superintendent and Tomales High School principal Adam Jennings wrote in an email to the school community that “we fully supported the affected family and will continue to do so.” 

“I know that this will spark much emotion and cause much sadness,” he wrote. “Even as we deal with this matter, we will be diligently working as a team to wrap up this school year, celebrate our graduating students, and be ready to welcome our students and families back in the fall.”

Marin County Office of Education superintendent Mary Jane Burke, Shoreline board president Jill Manning-Sartori and teachers’ union president Julie Cassel also made statements saying that the safety and well-being of students was their highest priority. 

Mr. Raines was a major power broker in West Marin. As the head of the largest school district, he oversaw the hiring of scores of employees and the instruction of around 500 students. He sat on committees dealing with internet connectivity, preschool readiness and safe routes to school. He oversaw labor negotiations with teachers and classified staff, and he campaigned to pass ballot measures for school funding. 

Before Mr. Raines was hired at Shoreline, he worked for 10 years as the superintendent and principal of Alexander Valley Elementary in Healdsburg, and another 10 years as the superintendent and principal of Wilson Elementary School in Petaluma. From 1989 to 1991, he served as the principal of Inverness and West Marin Schools.

Mr. Raines’s tenure was rocky at times. Labor unions threatened strikes over his handling of their pay, parents signed a petition declaring a vote of no confidence and the chief business officer position went unfilled for two years. Turnover in leadership was a theme: Four different principals were hired at Inverness and West Marin Schools over the past five years, including Rey Mayoral, who resigned after an old sexual assault settlement was revealed, and Matt Nagle, who sued the district and Mr. Raines for retaliation and received a $700,00 settlement. Bodega Bay and Tomales Elementary Schools also saw four different principals during Mr. Raines’s tenure.

Mr. Raines, 66, said he retired because the district had reached a more stable place, and he wanted to spend time in Colorado with his two sons and new granddaughter. 

Mr. Raines made around $200,000 this year. Under the California Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act, public employees who are convicted of a felony for conduct at work must forfeit their benefits earned after the date the crime was committed.