Facebook threats lead to schools shutdown

Man arrested on suspicion of threatening Oak Park schools

SCARE—Morton Green, 74, was arrested July 10 in Laughlin, Nev. Courtesy photo

SCARE—Morton Green, 74, was arrested July 10 in Laughlin, Nev. Courtesy photo

The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office arrested a 74-year-old Agoura Hills man in connection with criminal threats made against the Oak Park Unified School District over the recent death of his son.

Deputies, with the help of officers from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, found Morton Green in Laughlin, Nev., where they took him into custody July 10.

According to his Facebook page, Green holds the school district responsible for the apparent suicide death of one of his sons, Robert Green, on June 2. A sibling later called Robert Green’s death an “accident,” not a suicide.

The school district closed all campuses July 11 in response to the written threat, dated July 7, 5:29 p.m., which reads: “The Oak Park, California School district, their faculty, administrators, and football coaches illegally, unethically and without any morals allowed anti-Semitic and child abuse to continue for his entire football year. He was assaulted and battered by those who brought it upon themselves to hurt my son.”

The post continues: “With his sudden death June 2, it now allows me to be free, to use any, and all means possible, and to seek justice for my son. Anything, and everything is on the table now. How will be my choice, not theirs.”

A post dated July 8 reads, “Someone asked me what I planned to do for those responsible for my son’s death? The anger I have, and my knowledge of explosives, and shooting gives me so many different options.”

Morton Green was booked into custody at the Tucker Holding Facility in Laughlin awaiting extradition to California. His bail was set at $100,000.

All Oak Park campuses reopened July 12.

Ventura County Sheriff’s Capt. Garo Kuredjian said Green’s threat had been anonymously reported to the FBI before the sheriff’s office took over the investigation starting around noon July 10.

“It was just really strange,” Kuredjian said. “(The Facebook post) referenced some things that happened in the past. It was kind of a rant. The whole thing was strange in how (he could) attribute things from so long ago.”

Leslie Heilbron, Oak Park assistant superintendent, said in a communication to parents, “I have been assured that (the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office) will increase patrols near our campuses, out of an abundance of caution.”

Heilbron said she was relieved that Green was arrested.

“On behalf of our school community, we thanked Chief (Tim) Hagel and the entire team of law enforcement professionals who assisted our district during this difficult time and took swift action to ensure an arrest,” she said.

She said that Green’s sons attended Oak Park High School many years ago.

The Acorn reported in 2000 that Robert Green had charged former Oak Park football coach Dick Billingsley and JV coach Dennis Ritterbush with harassment over the length of his hair during the 1995 junior varsity season. The family filed a lawsuit. Robert Green later transferred out of the school district.

On Morton Green’s Facebook page, a post time-stamped July 7, 11:15 a.m. discusses the pain that comes with losing a child. The post reads, “Hurting yourself, or killing yourself won’t change anything. How one proceeds . . . is based on their character.” This post was dedicated to Robert Brian Green.

But at some point the sorrow turned to anger.

The post dated July 8 reads, “They took his life away, now it is time to see if they still think it was funny abusing my son. No one knows the anger, and pain I suffer now, or then. The trick of using explosives is to be not around when they go off.”

Stew McGugan, director of student support and school safety, a new position in OPUSD, said the closure of all schools was necessary.

Although summer school classes are over, student-athletes have been at the high school daily for a volleyball camp, cheerleading practice, soccer tryouts, cross country training and other activities.

“Those are all summer sports camps for high school athletes,” McGugan said. He added that the day care program hosted by Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District at the elementary schools also closed temporarily and a summer sports camp at Medea Creek Middle School was canceled for the day.

At any time, McGugan said, a few hundred children are spread out on district campuses during the summer.

He said he was relieved that the threat to schools was resolved.

“I am extremely happy how quickly and collaboratively the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office got on this,” he said. “We feel fortunate to work with them during their swift multi-state action. Safety is of immediate concern, and we will continue to take it very seriously.”

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