SRPD investigates SRJC performing arts worker Ari Poppers


Santa Rosa Junior College Theater Arts Technical Director Ari Eden Poppers is on administrative leave and is under investigation by the Santa Rosa Police Department for allegedly having sex with a minor.

On April 16, a Facebook profile under the name of Lexi Sanderson posted a video detailing a conversation between Lexi and Poppers where Poppers, 45, used explicit, sexual language and attempted to initiate in-person relationships after Lexi claimed she was 16.

“And your [sic] are you sure you’re cool with me being 16? Lexi asked in a message. “Keep telling me you’re 21 lol,” Poppers replied.

In a conversation with The Oak Leaf, “Lexi” admitted to being a 25-year-old former Sonoma County resident, but did not give her real name.

When asked why he would masquerade as an online miner, he replied:grew up in a family of sisters so I saw him as the youngest brother. I’ve seen it all my life, just weird, scary men flirting with my sisters, and it was just boring enough, and I never really felt like I could do anything about it.

In a later Facebook post, the man posing as Lexi said he told Poppers he would keep the chat private if Poppers agreed to his terms.

“I gave Ari the chance to confide in someone close to me in the hope that that person would hold him responsible for moving forward, as well as taking an online course on how to deal with his problems. sexual urges and his recklessness, ”said Lexi. “In the end he refused, so this [posting publicly on Facebook] was the only way.

When asked to clarify why he would bother negotiating with Poppers and not informing authorities, Lexi said, “Either way, I’m going to the police.” He said he usually doesn’t publicly expose the conversations, but in some cases, “It needs to be documented. In most cases, nothing happens to them under the law, but it always has to be there. “

Lexi also posted the full-text conversation in an effort to clear her consciousness. “I mean, to say that something is going on and I was aware of it, so obviously I’m kind of not an accomplice but loosely related to it,” he said.

In addition to the SRPD investigation, the JC is also conducting its own internal investigation and placed Poppers on administrative leave on April 16.

The SRJC is taking this issue seriously and taking action, ”said Theater Arts Chair Leslie McCauley. “I cannot comment further due to the confidential matter of the investigation.”

Poppers is currently not charged with a felony as of April 18.

The Oak Leaf has contacted Poppers by email and phone and received no response.

To share information relevant to the current investigation, call SRPD at 707-543-4045. If you are a sexual assault survivor and need help, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-4673.

Additional reporting by Emma Molloy, Cass Stewart, Alex Fuller and Lauren Spates.

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