Student activist cited for battery of ASDVC member
Christopher C. Long
May 11, 2010
Cinco de Mayo festivities outside the Student Union building May 5 were interrupted by the public arrest of Students for a Democratic Society member, Frank Runninghorse.
Runninghorse, 54, was cited and released for violating California Penal Code sections 243.2 and 290.18: battery and failing to register with campus police as a sex offender, said DVC’s ranking peace officer, Lt. Tom Sharp of campus police services.
Runninghorse’s real name is Steven Orcutt, according to arresting officer David Farley.
A long-time political activist, Runninghorse was the first Associated Students of DVC president to be elected in a campus-wide vote in 1995 He never held the office, however, because it was discovered he had dropped below the minimum number of required units.
ASDVC activities coordinator Adrian Briones, who has been involved in an ongoing dispute with Runninghorse over alleged election code violations, acknowledged filing the battery complaint May 5 that led to his arrest.
The allegation stems from an incident that Briones said occurred two days earlier when, he claims, Runninghorse tried to thrust a flier on him.
“He just grabbed a paper and rammed it in my arm,” Briones said, “basically [forcing] my whole body to move back.”
Runninghorse disputes that description, saying he attempted to “place a piece of literature,” a flyer containing information about the Brown Act, on top of Briones’ folded arms as he passed by.
Briones recently lost the race to become ASDVC’s webmaster and also failed to make stick his complaints of election violations against candidates from the Progressive Democratic Students coalition, whom Runninghorse had endorsed.
“Once they find out it was me [who filed the complaint that led to Runninghorse's arrest], they automatically assume it was because of the election thing,” Briones said.
Brian Donovan, Francisco Hinajosa and Nick Holmes, candidates for the ASDVC positions of vice president of legislative affairs, president and vice president of executive affairs respectively, recently had their guilty judgments overturned by Elections Committee.
SDS President Brian Donovan said Briones’ is the “story of the boy who cried ‘wolf.’”
The battery complaint “loses all credibility,” for being filed after-the-fact, he said.
Briones said he was continually hassled by Runninghorse.
“When I walk around campus he always yells at me and calls me ‘Nazi,’ ‘Fuehrer,’ ‘fascist,’” Briones said.
He no longer felt safe after the Monday incident, but since he couldn’t get around to filing earlier, Briones said he had to wait until Wednesday to make the complaint with police.
Briones said he had no idea of Runninghorse’s status as a sex offender, and it was not motivation for filing the battery complaint.
A public record obtained by The Inquirer revealed that Runninghorse was charged in December 2005 with four counts of committing lewd acts with a minor aged 14-15 and one count of possessing sexual matter involving minors, commonly referred to as “child pornography.”
By law, these crimes are felony-level offenses.
But Runninghorse’s lawyer was able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor offense. Hence, his personal and identifying information is not required to be available on such public offender databases as the Megan’s Law website, said Contra Costa Sheriff’s Detective Kelly Challand.
Challand said only felons’ information appears on such public sites.
Farley said sex offenders who attend classes at DVC must register with campus police immediately.
Runninghorse refused to comment on his conviction or his failure to register, saying only that he was “taking care of it right away.”
Supervising Deputy District Attorney Bruce Flynn said his office had not yet received a report on the arrest, which is being completed by Lt. Sharp from campus police. No evaluation as to how the case will be prosecuted can be made until the report is submitted, he said.
The report of the incident is being completed by Sharp, who has been on leave since last week.
Editor in chief Ariel Messman-Rucker contributed to this article.
Contact Christopher C. Long at firstname.lastname@example.org