City News Service

School District Employee Charged With Sex Crimes Against Minor

Police say the teacher began their relationship with the teenager two years ago.

A female Azusa Unified School District employee was charged Wednesday with five felony counts for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a teenage boy over the course of a year.

Jessica Marie Esparza, 28, was arrested Monday following an investigation that was launched after police were notified that an adult employee of the school district "had possibly engaged in an unlawful sexual relationship with a minor," Azusa police Lt. Robert Chivas said.

"At the time of the initial notification, officers and detectives were unable to substantiate the alleged allegations," Chivas said. "Through continued investigation, Azusa Police Department detectives later identified Jessica Esparza as the adult employee who had engaged in unlawful sexual behavior with a minor. During their contact with Esparza, detectives identified the victim and discovered that the alleged incidents took place over the course of a year, beginning two years ago when the victim was 16 years of age."

Esparza was a part-time school district employee who was placed on administrative leave, but school district officials did not specify what type of work she did, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.

The alleged crimes occurred between March 2016 and October 2017, according to police and prosecutors, who charged Esparza with one count each of unlawful sexual intercourse, sodomy of a person under 18 and sexual penetration of a person under 18, along with two counts of oral copulation of a person under 18.

Esparza has remained jailed in lieu of $50,000 bail since her arrest, according to jail records.

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