In a bizarre story out of Simi Valley, California, sixth grade teacher Malia Brooks faces several charges of lewd acts upon a child.
As reported by ABC-30, authorities say that 32-year-old Brooks allegedly had an ongoing sexual relationship with one of her 6th-grade students under age 14. She has plead not guilty to the charges of lewd acts on a child, oral copulation of a person under 14, and three counts of genital penetration by a foreign object.
Police say these crimes happened over a period of time with one child at Garden Grove Elementary School and that they believe there are no other victims in this case. According to Simi Valley Police Lieutenant Stephanie Shannon, public information about the case is being limited to protect the victim and his or her family.
The 32-year-old mother of two made her first court appearance Wednesday. According to Ron Bamieh, Brook’s attorney, his client suffers from mental illness.
"We had her diagnosed and she's in treatment,” he said. “My guess is that a lot of the charges precipitated from that illness.”
Officials say Brooks had been a 6th-grade teacher at Garden Grove since 2004 and was an exemplary employee. The allegations against her began in late February, when she was immediately placed on paid administrative leave. Brooks resigned on June 5, and surrendered to police on Tuesday.
Parents at Garden Grove Elementary School are struggling to remain calm as the school year comes to an end. Parent Shelley Brewer told ABC-30, "I was debating on whether to bring them today, but it is the last day. They're going to try to make it fun."
Another parent, Lina Centeno, says her son was in Brooks' 6th-grade class. She described Brooks as a ‘phenomenal’ teacher.
"She's very nice with our students, and this is unbelievable how this happened," said Brooks' former student Alan Cabrera.
The police have contacted Child Protective Services about Brook's two children, they currently remain at home with her husband.
Brooks is now in jail and her bail is set at $2 million. Police say her bail was set so high because they found information indicating that she was a flight risk.