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Ex-Simi Valley grade school teacher admits to sex with student

Crime, Law and JusticeJustice System

A former Simi Valley elementary school teacher has admitted to having a sexual relationship with a male student, authorities said.

Malia Brooks, who worked as a sixth-grade teacher at Garden Grove Elementary, pleaded guilty to three counts of lewd conduct on a child with sentencing enhancements for substantial sexual conduct-–an enhancement that speaks to the severity of the acts, prosecutors said.

The victim was under 14 years old, according to the initial charges filed against the teacher. There do not appear to be any other victims.

Brooks, 32, pleaded guilty as part of a deal with prosecutors, who dropped two of the charges against her. The judge indicated Brooks will likely be sentenced to six years in prison at her sentencing Aug. 23, said Ventura County Deputy District Atty. Erin Meister.

Brooks started at the school in 2004 and her employee evaluations were “exemplary,” said Cary Dritz, assistant superintendent at Simi Valley Unified School District.

She has a husband and two kids. Despite that, Brooks has been considered a flight risk and her bail was set at $2 million, prosecutors said.

Brooks' attorney, Ron Bamieh, told KTLA she suffers from a mental illness. He did not immediately return a Times request for comment Friday.

A parent notified the district of Brooks' alleged relationship with a student Feb. 21, Dritz said. The next day, the district alerted police, who investigated for four months, leading to Brooks’ arrest this week.

Brooks was put on paid leave during the investigation before resigning June 5.

The district informed parents of the investigation earlier this week.

“Many of the parents were in disbelief,” Dritz said. “Many were supportive of her but the majority were for the school as a whole.”

The district informed parents of Brooks’ arrest in a letter sent out Wednesday.

“We understand that these charges are a shock to anyone who might currently have or has had an association with Malia Brooks,” states the letter, signed by school Principal Mary E. Curtis. “I want every parent and student to know that we will do everything to continue to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment for all students.”

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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