Fresno teacher's aide accused of lewd acts with young student

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Fresno Unified teacher's aide accused of lewd acts with an elementary school student learned his case is now one step closer to trial.

In the courtroom, a Fresno Police officer recalled the day he responded to a mother's call, claiming a Fresno Unified teacher's aide was having an inappropriate relationship with her 9-year-old daughter.

Together the student and her mom showed the officer text messages and love letters they said came from Andres Perez-Esteban. He was a 4th-grade tutor at Olmos Elementary School and was about 20-years-old at the time.

"She said she began to be scared when Perez-Esteban began texting her and talking to her," says Fresno police officer Samuel Sanders.

The officer says the victim told him Perez-Esteban would hold her hand in the back of the classroom, hug her and kiss her on the cheek when no teachers were around.

These statements are not accusations. When the police officer went to Perez-Esteban's apartment, he admits he knew it was wrong to have an intimate relationship with a 9-year-old, and that he loved her.

ABC30 learned in court Friday that Perez-Esteban told a detective he fell in love with the girl who was in the third grade when he first met her but claims he did not have sexual thoughts about her.

"He couldn't believe that he really fell in love with her, but he felt that she was just so mature and smart for her age, it kind of caught him off guard, basically," says Detective Michael Martin with the Fresno Police Department.

The detective says the victim's mom also gave them her daughter's backpack with gifts from Perez-Esteban...which included a backup cell phone, a matching bracelet, money and a credit card with his name on it.

"He mentioned that he was in love with her and that he did want to marry her eventually down the road there's also several gifts he gave her so he's very interested in and passionate about the victim," says Detective Martin.

The prosecutor on the case says the relationship lasted from the time the victim was 8 until she was 9-years-old...and that Perez-Esteban is facing a maximum of twelve years if he's found guilty on all three charges of lewd acts, with an enhancement that could make him ineligible for probation.

His next court date is scheduled for the end of May.
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