By Lonnie Allen and Elisabeth Waldon
Daily News staff writers
CARSON CITY — A longtime Carson City-Crystal Area Schools athletics volunteer was sentenced to a jail term this month after his employment with the school district was terminated last spring for sexual contact with a young girl.
John Reyes Ramirez, 61, of Carson City, was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct involving an April 26 incident in Carson City. The female victim was 12 years old and lives in Carson City.
Ramirez turned himself in to law enforcement officials on June 18. He pleaded no contest Sept. 27 to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. The second charge was dropped in exchange for his plea.
A no contest plea is not a guilty plea but is treated like a guilty plea by the court.
Ramirez was sentenced Nov. 8 in 8th Judicial Circuit Court in Stanton to 90 days jail, five years probation and $1,248 in fines and costs. He also had to register as a sex offender.
According to 64B District Court and 8th Judicial Circuit Court records, Ramirez has no additional criminal record in Montcalm County.
The Daily News wrote about Ramirez in a feature story in 1998, detailing his many athletic duties at Carson City-Crystal Area Schools. Ramirez, who was employed at Carson City Hospital at that time, was responsible for taking statistics for most of the school district’s sports teams, home and away games.
School officials told The Daily News at that time that Ramirez was a regular fixture at school games and was a tremendous asset to athletic staff. Ramirez was popular with students and was known for donating the money he earned at home games back to the school’s athletic department.
“I don’t do it for the money,” Ramirez told The Daily News at that time. “I like being with the kids. They’re just great.”
Ramirez’s work with the school district and subsequent termination and criminal conviction was a topic of discussion at Monday night’s regular Carson City-Crystal school board meeting. A concerned parent wanted to know what more was being done to protect students.
Superintendent Kevin Murphy, who started his superintendent duties on July 1, said there hasn’t been any “strange activity” at the school lately. He said there has been some conclusion to the Ramirez situation.
“At this time, we have been working one-on-one with this matter,” Murphy said. “This is how we like to handle matters dealing with personnel.”
The concerned parent said he understands the school district’s procedure of handling the matter privately, but he still wanted to know what has been done to prevent a similar crime from happening again.
“What has been done to the policy, so, when a child comes to you or anybody else that’s been molested by a staff member or volunteer or whoever, because I am very dissatisfied with your faculty, administration and board on how this incident was handled,” the parent said.
Murphy said the school district’s policy calls for a thorough investigation in response to any allegation. He said any person in question of inappropriate activity would be placed on administrative leave, as was Ramirez.
The concerned parent questioned school board members about the parents’ daughter being harassed by faculty after she came forward with allegations about Ramirez last spring.
“I am not happy with the way this was handled,” the parent said. “If it were your daughter, how would you feel? Your daughter goes to school here and it was pretty well known by the coaching staff that (Ramirez) was known as ‘Johnny grab ass’ and someone should have had the spine to step in and do something about it.”
Murphy said he recognized the parent’s concerns, but said the matter should not be discussed at a school board meeting, but instead should be discussed privately to protect all parties involved.
The Daily News has requested Ramirez’s personnel information from the school district via a Freedom of Information Act request.