Former Fresno Unified teacher's aide admits to sexually abusing special needs student, walks free

Investigators say Theresa Ramirez frequently took the 16-year-old to her apartment where they'd engage in sexual activity.

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Thursday, August 25, 2022
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Theresa Ramirez, a former teacher's aide, frequently sexually abused a 16-year-old student with special needs when she worked at Hoover High School.

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- A former Fresno Unified teacher's aide is a free woman despite a conviction for sex crimes with a special needs student.

Theresa Ramirez was 35 years old.

Her victim was her special needs student. He was between the ages of 15 and 17 when Ramirez abused him.

It took six years to punish her and even then, Ramirez and two friends walked quickly away from the criminal courthouse after a judge sentenced her Wednesday morning.

It was Hoover High School she was leaving in 2015 when she sexually abused a 16-year-old student with special needs.

Investigators say she frequently took the boy off campus during school hours.

Mostly, they went to her apartment, where Ramirez would give the boy alcohol and marijuana, and they'd engage in sexual activity.

She got caught when he told another special needs teacher's aide.

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."

Ramirez admitted to a single felony sex crime. She'll serve no more jail time than the three days she spent in jail after her arrest in 2016.

The deal puts her on probation for two years, but she doesn't have to register as a sex offender.

Prosecutors said taking the case to trial might've been problematic because they don't know where a couple witnesses are any more and the victim didn't want to have to testify about what Ramirez did to him.

"It was his expressed desire that this type of offer and resolution be conveyed to Ms. Ramirez in lieu of him testifying about something that for him is difficult and embarrassing," said prosecutor Adam Christopherson.

Ramirez's defense attorney said 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.

That case was on hold until the criminal case resolved, so they'll now go back in court in October.