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HesperiaStar.com
  • CRIME

    Substitute teacher arrested for sex with 16-year-old

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  • HESPERIA — A 40-year-old substitute teacher is behind bars after deputies found the man engaging in sexual activity with a 16-year-old girl inside a car, authorities said Tuesday.
    San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Hesperia Station officials said deputies performed a suspicious vehicle check on a black BMW in the area of Ivy Avenue and Alder Street in Hesperia around 1 a.m. on Sunday.
    Sheriff’s deputies said Rakshannah Gopal Ranney, 40, of Apple Valley, appeared to be engaged in sexual activity with a 16-year-old Apple Valley girl.
    Detectives said they believe Ranney and the victim were involved in an ongoing relationship after meeting on the Internet. Ranney is a substitute teacher for the Adelanto School District, according to a sheriff’s news release. Officials said the victim is not currently a student of the suspect.
    Edwin Gomez, Adelanto School District superintendent, said in a statement Ranney “has worked in the District as a substitute teacher at various sites off and on since February 2012.”
    Gomez also said Ranney worked as the drama teacher for the district’s summer support and enrichment program for the 2013-2014 school year.
    “At this time, we have not been provided with much detail from law enforcement due to the ongoing investigation, but we do not believe his arrest has any connection to any student within the Adelanto Elementary School District,” Gomez said. “In addition, Mr. Ranney will not be allowed to continue to sub-teach in our schools during the investigation ... the District will determine any subsequent measures related to his employment and otherwise regarding this matter to ensure student well-being at all times.”
    Detectives secured and executed search warrants for the suspect’s vehicle and his residence in Apple Valley, seizing computers and other electronic equipment in an effort to locate other potential victims, authorities said.
    Ranney is charged with a total of 10 felonies for alleged sexual acts with a minor, according to court records. He pleaded not guilty Tuesday and is due back in court on July 30. He was being held at the High Desert Detention Center in lieu of $125,000 bail.
    Anyone with information regarding the case is asked to call the detective bureau at the Hesperia Station, 760-947-1500. Citizens are encouraged to contact the Sheriff's Department or WeTip (800-87-CRIME, www.wetip.com) to report suspicious or criminal activity and can remain anonymous.
    Anneli Fogt can be reached at AFogt@VVDailyPress.com or 760-951-6276.
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