Who is Veronica Marie Lopez? California Teacher's Aide Gets 6 Months Jail After Engaging in Sexual Acts with Student

A former teacher's aide was sentenced to 180 days in jail and two years of probation for engaging in sexual acts with a 16-year-old student.

Veronica Marie Lopez, 44, was taken into custody on Thursday after Judge Wayne Ellison issued her sentence. Prosecutor Kristin Maxwell urged the judge to give Lopez a two-year prison sentence, while Lopez's attorney Roger Wilson said she deserved probation.

Lopez Engaged in Oral Sex, Had Sex with Student in the Backseat of Her Vehicle

Veronica Marie Lopez
Veronica Marie Lopez Facebook

Maxwell argued that Lopez betrayed the student's trust by sexually assaulting him and engaging in oral sex with him in the backseat of her vehicle.

The teacher's aide was also the one who pursued the student by messaging him on Facebook and giving him her phone number. She also arranged to meet him at a park near his home in June 2019, Maxwell said. The pair also engaged in sexual intercourse. "They got into the backseat of her car and she is the one who initiated sexual contact," Maxwell said.

Lopez Claimed the Student Pressured Her Into It

When Lopez was interviewed by detectives she admitted to the sexual encounter, but said the 16-year-old student pressured her into it.

Lopez spoke briefly during her sentencing hearing. She said she would be heartbroken if she was separated from her two daughters, one who was born premature. "I don't know what I would do if I was not able to see them, my girls are everything to me," Lopez said. "I push every day to be a better person and a better mother."

Attorney Wilson said Lopez has enrolled herself in therapy to try and deal with the trauma she experienced growing up. Lopez was married at 14 to a man who was 21, according to her attorney. Judge Ellison agreed with Wilson that this was not a state prison case. He placed Lopez on probation for two years. She must also enroll in a sex offender treatment program and register as a sex offender.

"I don't believe that this is a coincidence," Ellison said, referring to Lopez's crime. "This mirrors your own victimization when you were 14 years old. And while you are an appropriate candidate for probation, you were in a position of trust and you took advantage of children who are being sent to school by their parents. You have the responsibility to take care of them, not victimize them like what was done to you."

Second Fresno County Teacher to Get Probation This Week After Having Sex with a Minor

Lopez was originally charged with unlawful sexual intercourse and oral copulation of a person under the age of 18. The sex charge was dropped and she pleaded no contest to oral copulation. She is the second teacher's aide to be sentenced in recent weeks.

Theresa Ramirez, 41, a former teacher's aide at Hoover High School, was given two years probation and no jail or prison time. She did not have to register as a sex offender, as previously reported.

Ramirez was facing a maximum of five years in prison had she been convicted on all the charges against her. Those 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. Instead, Ramirez agreed to a plea deal with the prosecution, pleading no contest to unlawful sex with a minor.