CLEVELAND, Ohio — A Cleveland police officer accused of having sex with a 13-year-old before she became an officer pleaded not guilty in the case.
Maria Velez, 24, faces a charge of sexual battery. She was issued $10,000 bond.
Investigators say the crime happened before she went into law enforcement when she worked at Clark Elementary School as a bilingual instructional aide. They say she had an inappropriate relationship with a 13-year-old student that lasted from March to December 2015.
She left the school to become a Cleveland police officer and was stationed in the fifth district.
An arrest warrant states when she learned of the investigation last month, she asked the victim to lie to investigators.
Police Union President Steve Loomis issued the following statement:
“Like all Americans, Officer Velez is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. A rush to judgement is speculative, not warranted. We trust in our criminal justice system.”