Mistriel claim: Probation officer failed to report abuse prior to infamous 1981 murder

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BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — There are new developments surrounding the so-called Lords of Bakersfield, the infamous series of sex-and-murder cases from the 1980s. The attorney for a central figure in the case has filed a claim against Kern County.

Samuel Dordulian’s client, Robert Mistriel, was released from prison last year after serving 37 ½ years for murder.

Mistriel, who had worked as a gay prostitute from the age of 11, perhaps never had a chance. That’s what the parole board intimated when he was released from prison for the grisly murder of a man — a Kern County department head — almost three times his age.

Now Mistriel says he wants justice or something approximating justice.

Dordulian filed the claim — a legally required precursor to a lawsuit — alleging the county knew about the succession of men including its personnel director, Ed Buck, who were routinely engaging in sex with minors and specifically with Mistriel. One of the places these men found minors to abuse, was the San Felipe Boys Home on B Street, which closed years ago. In Mistriel’s case, he was hired for perform odd jobs, including late-night janitorial work, away from the boys’ home.

Mistriel and another man, Roy Matthew Camenisch, were convicted in 1983 of Buck’s 1981 murder.

At Mistriel’s sixth parole hearing the parole board seems for the first time to have grasped what Mistriel’s life has been like.

“The parole commissioner finally acknowledged that I was in fact a victim of childhood trafficking,” Mistriel told KGET in a July 2020 interview, “and under those circumstances kind of understood what I did, though he didn’t condone it. He still chastised me for being a bad person but recognized the situation I was up against and the age that I was when I decided to commit a murder.”

In the claim, Mistriel claims his county probation officer failed to protect him after he told her about the alleged Bbuse by buck and others.

Probation Officer Sally Rockholt, now retired, testified in 1983 that Mistriel — then a 17-year-old minor — had in fact in informed her of the alleged abuse by the county executive.

The county has rejected Mistriel’s claim, according to Dordulian. He said he can file an actual lawsuit against the county six months from the date of the claim, Sept. 30, and intends to do so.

“This a long time coming for him to get some form of justice,” Dordulian said. “He’s not going to get the kind of justice he wants, to put these people away, but this is the second best.”

Now we wait until the calendar says Mistriel can move ahead with his lawsuit. The monetary damages he will seek have not yet been disclosed.

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