Former LPSS Employee Facing Additional Charges, Accused of Raping Exchange Student in NOLA Hotel
A former Lafayette Parish School system employee who is accused of having sex with an underage foreign exchange student is now facing additional charges in New Orleans.
According to a NOLA.com report, Kimberly Wellman-Rich is now facing statutory rape charges in New Orleans after she allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old European exchange student in a French Quarter hotel.
Criminal records obtained by NOLA.com include very few details from the investigation but enough to put together a better picture of the complete story behind the allegations against Wellman-Rich.
The investigation surrounds the alleged abuse of a teen that 36-year-old Wellman-Rich began hosting in her home back in August. Wellman-Rich is a former LPSS employee who worked as a special ed paraprofessional at Edgar Martin Middle School before she was fired on Feb. 23.
Wellman-Rich hosted the 16-year-old boy in her home along with her husband, 35-year-old Jefferey Rich, who was also arrested for knowing the boy was being abused but did not report it to the proper authorities.
Court records show that the hosting couple would "often smoke marijuana with the student" and on his 16th birthday, Kimberly Wellman-Rich had sex with him. According to police, the student was reportedly a virgin at the time and Wellman-Rich would go on to have sex with him several times after their initial sexual 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. At times, police said, her husband was home but in another room.
The legal age for consent in Louisiana is 17, which is possibly why documents show that Wellman-Rich insisted that the underage exchange student keep their sexual relationship a secret even though she told her friends about it.
After a trip to New Orleans on January 15 (where Wellman-Rich reportedly kicked her girlfriends out of the hotel room so she and the boy could have sex) the foreign-exchange student told investigators he was confronted by Jeffery Rich upon their return to the Youngsville home where he was being hosted, and even though Rich seemed to be upset he wasn't as angry as the student thought he would be.
According to (the boy), Mr. Rich was angry, but not as angry as he thought Mr. Rich would have been after he was told (the student) was having sex with Mrs. Wellman-Rich. (The boy) stated that if it were him receiving that type of information, he would have been very angry.
Rich reportedly instructed the boy to keep his sexual encounters with Wellman-Rich a secret "from everyone except him."
The student told police that Wellman-Rich had sex with him one more time after he was confronted then on January 22 an anonymous caller tipped off the Louisiana Department of Children & Family Services and the teen was removed from the home by authorities.
Both Kimberly Wellman-Rich and Jeffery Rich were arrested and face multiple charges including felonies that carry near and up to maximums of 10 years in prison.
Read the full story with more details here via NOLA.com and catch up on the original story via our KPEL News team here.