Maria Velez, a 24-year-old Cleveland, Ohio police officer is being accused of having sex with an underage pupil multiple times during the course of a year while working as a teacher’s aide.
According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Velez was arrested October 19 and charged with sexual battery, a third-degree felony, and booked into the Cleveland City Jail. She is accused of sexually assaulting the boy, who was then 13, multiple times between March and December 2015. Velez worked as a bilingual paraprofessional at Clark Elementary School and was hired in October 2014.
Sgt. Jennifer Ciaccia, a spokeswoman for the Cleveland police department, said Velez is suspended without pay while the case is pending.
Velez worked as an instructional aide at Clark Elementary School in 2015 when she had sex with the boy, according to court records. She had sex multiple times with the then 13-year-old boy between March and December 2015, according to court records.
When Velez learned about a pending Cleveland police investigation launched in September, she called the boy and tried to convince him to lie to investigators, court records say.
Cleveland Metropolitan School District spokeswoman Roseann Canfora said Velez resigned from her position as an instructional aide in 2015 to take her job with the Cleveland Police Department.
Canfora said the district was unaware at the time of any accusations of impropriety on Velez’s part while she was employed.
Velez pled not guilty, was given a bond of $10,000. she received a no-contact order with the victim.
Velez graduated from John Hay Early College High School in 2010 and then graduated from John Carroll University in 2014 with a degree in psychology and a minor in Spanish before being hired at Clark Elementary.
This is the latest in a string of teacher/student sex scandals this year. In November, Tennessee teacher Janet Smothers was arrested. Former nutrition teacher LaToya Parker was also arrested for a relationship with a student. Florida teacher Caroline Lawson was charged with sexual assault. 26-year-old Allyson Moran was also arrested for similar crimes. The 23-year-old high school teacher Katherine Ross Ridenhour was also arrested for an inappropriate relationship. Hunter Day, 22, was also arrested after a sting operation. Megan Kotarski was also arrested on similar charges.