LPSS employee accused of raping exchange student in French Quarter

NEW ORLEANS, La. — A Lafayette Parish School System employee who allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old foreign exchange student at a French Quarter hotel is now facing statutory rape charges in New Orleans, according to criminal court records obtained by our media partners at NOLA.com. Police this week booked […]

NEW ORLEANS, La. — A Lafayette Parish School System employee who allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old foreign exchange student at a French Quarter hotel is now facing statutory rape charges in New Orleans, according to criminal court records obtained by our media partners at NOLA.com.

Police this week booked Kimberly Wellman-Rich, 36, as part of an investigation into her alleged abuse of the teen, who she and her husband were hosting in their home in the Lafayette-area community of Youngsville.

Before being fired from her job of Feb. 23, she worked as a special education paraprofessional at Edgar Martin Middle School, the newspaper reports.

Jeffrey Rich, 35, was also arrested for allegedly knowing about the child sex abuse and failing to report it to law enforcement authorities.

While the initial arrests made international headlines, New Orleans police documents filed in court this week provide a more complete picture of the case, in which scarce details have emerged, according to NOLA.com.

The newspaper is not identifying the student, a European native whose name matches that of a student at a Lafayette-area school, because of a policy against naming victims of alleged sex crimes in most instances. Attempts to contact the Riches by NOLA.com were unsuccessful Friday.

According to the court documents, the couple began hosting the 16-year-old boy in their home in August.

They would often smoke marijuana with the student, court records say. Then, on the boy’s 16th birthday, Wellman-Rich had sex with the student. The police narrative describes the boy as a virgin at the time of the encounter.

Wellman-Rich went on to have sex with the teen multiple times over the next several months, mostly on her couch, in her bed and in the guest room, police added, citing an account that the teen provided during a forensic interview. At times, police said, her husband was home but in another room.

The woman told her friends about the relationship but pleaded with the boy to keep quiet about what she was doing, police alleged. The legal age of consent in Louisiana is 17.

Then, on January 15, Wellman-Rich took the boy on a trip to New Orleans with three of her girlfriends, police wrote in court filings.

You can read the full article from NOLA.com here.

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