A teacher at the elite Brentwood School was charged Friday with repeatedly having unlawful sex with a 17-year-old male student this summer, prosecutors said.
Aimee Palmitessa, 45, pleaded not guilty Friday to seven counts of unlawful sexual intercourse, two counts each of sodomy and sexual penetration by foreign object of a person under 18 and one count of oral copulation of a person under 18, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.
She is scheduled to return to court on Oct. 16.
If Palmitessa is convicted, she faces up to 10 years and four months in state prison.
Palmitessa, who worked for nine years at the private school, was arrested Aug. 18 after the teen reported the alleged assaults to authorities, the district attorney’s office said. She was released on bail hours afterward.
Prosecutors allege that Palmitessa sexually assaulted the teen, a former student of hers, between June 12 and Aug. 11, the district attorney’s office said in a statement.
Palmitessa is a biology teacher at the private school, one of Los Angeles’ most expensive schools, sources told The Times. She has a doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology and previously taught at Penn State Abington university in Montgomery County, Pa.
After Palmitessa’s arrest, Mike Riera, head of Brentwood School, said in a statement that administrators were taking the incident seriously. The school offered counseling services to students and parents who needed support.
“We also remain in close touch with our families, offering them resources to draw from as they help their children navigate this difficult time,” he said.
In a newsletter to parents, Riera said Palmitessa was placed on administrative leave.
1:45 p.m.: This article was updated with Palmitessa pleading not guilty and the student’s age.
11:20 a.m.: This article was updated with specific charges filed against Aimee Palmitessa.
This article was originally published at 10:55 a.m.