BOYLE HEIGHTS, Calif. (KTLA) — A day-care center owner charged this week with molesting children at his Boyle Heights operation had been investigated twice before — but never arrested — in connection with similar allegations several years ago, according to law enforcement officials and state records.
The California Department of Social Services, which licenses day-care center, was also aware of the 2009 allegation.
But the agency allowed the Boyle Heights facility to continue to operate after agency investigators concluded the accusation was not corroborated, records show.
This year, on Feb. 5, a 5-year-old girl attending the day-care for the first time came home and told her mother she didn’t want to go back, according to LAPD detectives.
The child said Ramos had touched her vagina, LAPD Det. Steven Juarez said.
Detectives said that allegation spurred them to gather evidence to arrest Ramos last week on suspicion of molesting three children, including the earlier cases.
Ramos, 45, was charged Monday with three felony counts of lewd acts on a child.
In the 2008 case, police said a mother reported that her daughter had been sexually abused.
But Juarez said the victim’s mother was homeless and disappeared before they could investigate the allegations.
“She was moving from shelter to shelter,” the detective said.
In 2009, police investigated a second allegation that Ramos had fondled a child. “It was a one-on-one allegation,” Juarez said.
Juarez said Deputy Dist. Atty. Richard Taklender declined in January 2010 to file the case because of insufficient evidence. Sandi Gibbons, a D.A. spokeswoman, said she could find no record of the decision not to bring charges.
When police were contacted with the new allegation, they resumed their investigation and tracked down the first mother, who now lives in eastern Los Angeles County.
Ramos made a brief appearance Day-care owner charged with abuse was accused as early as 2008Monday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. He entered a not guilty plea and remains in the county jail in lieu of $1.3 million bail.
Los Angeles Police Monday asked for the public’s help identifying additional victims.
“We are asking for any child, who was a victim of Mr. Ramos to please come forward and report any incidents to their parents, teachers or persons of trust,” said LAPD Detective Steven Juarez.
The 5-year-old and 8-year-old victims apparently made complaints about Ramos back in 2008, but there was insufficient evidence to pursue a case at that time, police said.