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Los Angeles Teacher Accused of Sexual Relationship with Student at Elite Private School
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Summary: An elite high school teacher is accused of having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old student.

A Brentwood School biology teacher is accused of having sex with her 16-year-old student. The elite Los Angeles private school is one of the area’s most expensive schools but not exempt from having teachers cross the line.


Aimee Palmitessa was arrested and charged with statutory rape or unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Los Angeles Police spokesman Tony Im told reporters that the 45-year-old teacher is accused of having sexual relations with a student at the school.

Palmitessa has a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology, teaching at Penn State Abington until moving to teach at Brentwood. She taught biology at the private school, which is in shock and distress over the news.

Head of the school Mike Riera posted a statement on the school website Sunday afternoon stating, “On Friday afternoon, the Los Angeles Police Department informed Brentwood School that Upper School teacher, Dr. Aimee Palmitessa, had been arrested on suspicion of inappropriate relations with a student and is expected to face charges”

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Riera said, “The LAPD did not share additional information with us, such as the nature of the inappropriate relationship or the identity of the minor student. 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.”

She was released on $230,000 bail. She has been placed on administrative leave. Classes at the school begin next week on August 28.

The school is located in a ritzy LA neighborhood. Current students include Reese Witherspoon’s 17-year-old daughter and Harrison Ford’s son with Calista Flockhart. Former students include Patrick Schwarzenegger, Maroon 5 singer Adam Levine, comedian Jonah Hill, socialite Talita von Furstenberg, and actor Ben Savage.

The sexual abuse of students at the hands of teachers has been all over the news recently, especially in California. The Los Angeles Unified School District paid $88 million last year to settle sex abuse cases from two elementary schools. At those schools, there had been complaints about teacher behavior long before actual arrests happened.

LAUSD had already paid out $200 million even earlier for a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School that had abused students in his classroom. The Times determined that sexual abuse cases had cost the school district over $300 million in just the past four years. In an effort to get things under control, the district created better documentation and allegation records against employees. They also focused on improved training on the recognition and reporting of abuse, with the help of a specific special investigations unit.

Los Angeles is not alone; smaller school districts have had problems of their own. Pomona Unified School District had to pay $8 million to a former student that had been molested repeatedly by a teacher.

Details on how investigators learned of the case have not been released. The school, which opened in 1972, has been the top choice for celebrities and business leaders to send their children. Tuition ranges from nearly $35,000 for 6th grade and down to over $40,000 for grades 7-12. Financial aid is available to students who cannot afford tuition. There are around 1,000 students enrolled with 125 full-time teachers.

Do you think classes and more training needs to be done to bluntly explain to teachers that they will get caught and this is the kind of punishment they will receive? Or do you think people care? Tell us in the comments below.

To learn more about female teachers engaging in sexual relations with students, read these articles:




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