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December 24, 2013

Substitute school aide in Modesto arrested on suspicion of statutory rape

A substitute aide for Modesto City Schools was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with an underage student.

A substitute aide for Modesto City Schools was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of having a sexual relationship with an underage student.

Jeremy Wood, 28, of Modesto was arrested on suspicion of statutory rape after his ex-girlfriend told police Sunday about text messages exchanged between him and the 17-year-old student, Sgt. Ivan Valencia said.

The phone was turned over to police and the student was interviewed.

Wood was employed as a substitute paraprofessional at Beyer High School and had befriended the victim at the school when she was 16, Valencia said in a news release. Wood, like most paraprofessionals, works with special-needs students, but the girl was not one of his students, Valencia said.

Modesto City Schools said Wood is no longer an employee.

“We are extremely shocked and saddened by these allegations,” school district spokeswoman Becky Fortuna said in an email. “Modesto City Schools is cooperating fully with the investigation, and we have taken all appropriate actions in accordance with the law and district policy.”

An arrest warrant was issued Tuesday for Wood on suspicion of statutory rape.

Detectives assigned to the Special Victims Unit found him near his home in the area of Scenic Drive and Rose Avenue. He was arrested and booked at the Stanislaus County jail. His bail is $10,000 and his arraignment has not been scheduled, according to the jail website.

Modesto police ask anyone with information to call the department at (209) 572-9500.

Bee education reporter Nan Austin contributed to this report.

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