September 28, 2017
The Los Angeles Police Department recently announced that a teacher at the elite Brentwood School was arrested on suspicion of having sex with an underage student.
Aimee Palmitessa, 45, was taken into custody by police detectives last week on suspicion of statutory rape — sex involving a minor, said Tony Im, a spokesman for the Los Angeles Police Department. Palmitessa has since been released on bail, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.
The alleged victim is a 16-year-old student at the Brentwood School, which is attended by the children of several celebrities.
According to the Brentwood School’s website, tuition is $30,000 to $40,0000 a year. The school has roughly 1,000 students enrolled and 125 full-time teachers.
Palmitessa is an Upper School (9th thru 12th grade) biology teacher at the private school, which is one of the city’s most expensive schools. She worked at the private school for nine years as a teacher where the victim, whose name hasn’t been released to the public, was a student in one of her classes.
Palmitessa has a PhD in biochemistry and molecular biology. She previously taught at Penn State Abington.
Parents Informed of Teacher’s Arrest Via Newsletter
Dr. Mike Riera, Head of the Brentwood School released this statement:
“We were shocked and distressed to receive the news of these allegations. As always, our primary concern is the safety, health, and well-being of our students. To that end, we will do everything we can to cooperate with the official police investigation.”
Reira told parents of the arrest in a newsletter. He said that Dr. Palmitessa was immediately placed on administrative leave. The newsletter also said that the school is offering students counseling to deal with the teacher’s arrest.
Palmitessa was charged with seven counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, two counts each of sodomy and sexual penetration by foreign object of a person under the age of 18, and one count of oral copulation of a person under 18. The case is being prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Adrian Roxas of the Sex Crimes Division.
The criminal complaint states that, between June 12th and August 11th, Palmitessa allegedly sexually assaulted a teenage boy, who told police about the alleged incidents. If convicted, Palmitessa could face over 10 years and in state prison.
Palmitessa pleaded not guilty to the felony charges in her first court appearance.
So Cal Schools Have Recent History of Child Abuse
Southern California school districts are said to be trying in recent years to clamp down on teachers who abuse students.
The Los Angeles Unified School District last year paid $88 million to settle sexual abuse cases at two elementary schools involving teachers, and the district paid $200 million in the case of a Miramonte Elementary School teacher accused of abusing students in his classroom. One newspaper’s research last year showed that the district has paid out more than $300 million in the last four years for such cases.
Contact Aggressive, Experienced Lawyers
Whether in one of our state’s most exclusive schools or the local public school around the corner, parents must be vigilant to protect their children from predators. To help parents with this important task, they can call on the aggressive, experienced lawyers of the Cifarelli Law Firm. Our experienced staff works to prevent abuse and protect minors from harmful, dangerous relations within schools and youth programs.
If a child has been assaulted, parents and loved ones should act by contacting an experienced attorney at our firm. Email us or call our Irvine child abuse law office at (949) 502-8600 to schedule a confidential, free initial consultation. Our trusted legal representatives will provide insight and understanding for your case and in protecting the rights of your child. We serve abused and injured children throughout all of California including San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego, California, and ensure that your child is compensated for the abuse at the hands of those placed in positions of trust and power.