Former Chiawana paraeducator charged with sexual misconduct with minor

Jose Cruz-Rico was arraigned in Franklin County Superior Court on Dec. 31.

PASCO, Wash. — A former Chiawana High School paraeducator accused of having a sexual relationship with an underage student has been charged with first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor, a class C felony.

The Pasco Police Department launched in investigation into paraeducator Jose Cruz-Rico in 2018 after learning about his alleged relationship with a student about one year prior. He resigned from his position that year.

RELATED: Police say former Chiawana paraeducator should be charged with sexual misconduct

On Tuesday, Dec. 31, Cruz-Rico appeared in Franklin County Superior Court for his arraignment. He entered a plea of not guilty.

Cruz-Rico faces a maximum sentence of five years in prison and a fine of up to $10,000

The defendant is one of two former Chiawana employees who werea accused of engaging in sexual activity with the same victim.

Darrell Thomas Palomo, a former security guard at the high school, was arrested in September 2018 on the same charge.