SAMOHI — A teacher’s aide assigned to work with special education students at Santa Monica High School has been charged by the City Attorney’s Office with sexual battery after he allegedly grabbed a 15-year-old girl’s butt, police said Friday.
Kelvin Ramirez, 34, is facing one count of sexual battery, a misdemeanor. He is expected to be arraigned on Feb. 27 at the Airport Courthouse, said SMPD Sgt. Richard Lewis.
Ramirez could not be reached for comment.
When charged as a misdemeanor (with no aggravating circumstances), sexual battery carries a maximum of a six-month jail sentence and a $2,000 fine. However, if the touching takes place while the accuser is unlawfully restrained, institutionalized, seriously disabled, medically incapacitated or unconscious, the jail sentence may increase to a maximum of one year or the crime may rise to a felony, punishable by a maximum of four years in the state prison and a $10,000 fine.
The Samohi investigation began on Dec. 20, 2012 when the special ed student told authorities that she was grabbed on the buttocks by Ramirez, a part-time instructional aide who had been working on the campus for less than a year.
Police investigated the allegations and presented a case to the City Attorney’s Office for filing.
School Superintendent Sandra Lyon said Ramirez was a probationary employee who passed the standard Department of Justice background check before being hired. He has since resigned.
“As far as we know it is just one student, but we are doing a thorough investigation to determine if there is anything else we should follow up on,” Lyon said. “We are going to continue to work with our employee unions, training for our staff and with the students to make sure that they come forward and let us know if there are any allegations of misconduct.”
Lyon said administrators at Samohi acted quickly when made aware of the allegations.
“We take these matters very seriously,” she said.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is urged to contact SMPD detectives at (310) 458-2256 or the watch commander at (310) 458-8495.
Those wishing to remain anonymous can call the We-Tip hotline at (800) 78-CRIME (27463) or submit the tip online at www.wetip.com. People can also submit tips to Crime Stoppers by either calling (800) 222-TIPS (8477) or by visiting their website at www.lacrimestoppers.org. Tipsters may be eligible for a $1,000 reward if information leads to an arrest or conviction.