A former Hoover High School teacher's aide charged with having sex with a special needs student will not be going to prison, a Fresno County Superior Court Judge ruled onWednesday.
Theresa Ramirez, 41, would have faced a maximum of five years in prison had she been convicted on all the charges against her.
Ramirez's Plea Deal with Prosecutors
The charges included three felony counts of unlawful sex with a minor, one felony count of oral copulation, and one misdemeanor count of contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Ramirez will walk free after agreeing to a plea deal with the prosecution, pleading no contest to unlawful sex with a minor. In exchange, she was handed a sentence of two years probation and no jail or prison time. The remaining charges were dropped and Ramirez also does not have to register as a sex offender.
Ramirez Gave the Student Alcohol, Marijuana Before Engaging in Sex
According to police, Ramirez and the student met in 2015 when he was only 16 years old. She began tutoring him, but that relationship soon turned sexual
The student told police Ramirez would pick him up from Hoover and take him to her apartment where they would have sex in her bedroom, according to court testimony from investigators. Ramirez allegedly also provided the victim with alcohol and marijuana, before they engaged in sexual activity. She got caught when he told another special needs teacher's aide.
Victim Refused to Testify, Lack of Witnesses to Corroborate His Story
Prosecutor Adam Christopherson told the judge there were several challenges with the case, including the victim not wanting to testify during a trial and the inability to locate two witnesses who were expected to corroborate his story.
Christopherson also spoke to the victim and his family and they approved of the plea agreement. A criminal protective order has also been put in place forbidding Ramirez from contacting him.
In court Wednesday, Ramirez had her attorney read a statement about her crime. "I have let families down, mothers, sisters to suffer," Ramirez's note read. "I caused my own family, Hoover High family, especially my children. They've suffered because of my choices."
The attorney added that the lack of more jail time might make the sentence seem light, but she says Ramirez is paying a social price. "Although the court is not sending her to prison or jail, she has been imprisoned in another way," said defense attorney Jane Boulger. Ramirez and Fresno Unified also face a civil lawsuit from the boy and his family.