Chico music school founder facing felony charges


CHICO, Calif. - The founder of the Chico School of Rock accused of touching himself in front of a girl will soon face felony charges after prosecutors learned of another similar conviction more than 20 years ago in Shasta County.

Sid Lewis, founder of the music school for children, was arrested last week on a misdemeanor charge of child molestation or annoyance.

A 17-year-old former student claimed he touched himself in front of her while she was doing house work at his home.

If the accusation is true, this wouldn't be the first time Lewis has had sexual misconduct with a minor.

According to Butte County District Attorney Mike Ramsey, he was convicted of a similar misdemeanor in Shasta County back in 1990.

Which begs the question, why was Lewis was allowed to open a music school?

"He brought [the conviction] into court and, under a section of the penal code, had his requirement that he register as a sex offender lifted," Ramsey said.

That was in 2001, right around the time Lewis opened the Chico School of Rock.

And there's little way parents could have known his troubled past.

"They wouldn't have been able to look him up on Megan's list or the sex offender registry," Ramsey said.

With that conviction on the books, the prosecutors will now pursue felony charges against Lewis.

"We're concerned that this is perhaps, even though it's 30 years ago, it is still maybe a pattern," Ramsey said.

There's just one more hurdle to jump, and that's in the basement of the Butte County Superior Courthouse, where Lewis' file is stored.

"And that's where they have told us that they just don't have the personnel to go into the basement and find it."

Until that happens, the district attorney's office will prepare the charges as best they can.

And Ramsey says he's certain by the time Lewis is arraigned on March 14, he'll have what he needs to move forward.

"Hopefully the court will get unbusy enough to find that file," he said. "I am sure that eventually they will find it."