Utah junior high staff member charged with raping 14-year-old student

American flags wave at Granite Park Junior High School in South Salt Lake on Nov. 11, 2019. A staff member at the school was charged Wednesday with engaging in sexual activity with a 14-year-old student.

American flags wave at Granite Park Junior High School in South Salt Lake on Nov. 11, 2019. A staff member at the school was charged Wednesday with engaging in sexual activity with a 14-year-old student. (Steve Griffin, Deseret News)

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SOUTH SALT LAKE — A staff member at a South Salt Lake junior high school was arrested Tuesday and charged Wednesday with sexually abusing a teenage student.

Kimberly Jeniffer Cruz Romero, 29, was charged Wednesday afternoon in 3rd District Court with rape of a child, forcible sodomy and two counts of rape, all first-degree felonies.

An officer with the Granite School District Police Department was investigating a report of unlawful sexual activity with a child at Granite Park Junior High, 3031 S. 200 East, when he learned about a 14-year-old boy who was allegedly engaging in sexual activity with Cruz, according to a police booking affidavit.

Police say the woman is an attendance tracker at the school.

"It was reported by the victim (that) he and Kimberly Cruz Romero had sexual intercourse on several occasions," including at a hotel in Salt Lake City, in the woman's office at the school and in her car on several occasions prior to the boy turning 14, the affidavit alleges.

Police say the sexual activity started in November. The boy said Cruz "told him she had feelings for him and she would tell him she loved him," according to the charging documents, and also "bought him things."

The first incident occurred when Cruz gave the boy a ride home. He told police that "they pulled over to talk and ended up in the back seat of the car. (He) stated that they began 'play fighting' in the back seat because he was messing around, saying bad things about Cruz Romero's 'gang.' (The boy) stated that after, they 'did it' in the back seat, then she took him home."

Police say they have recovered pictures and video evidence of the crimes. Charging documents allege that in one incident, Cruz "asked him to record them having sex."

The boy also told police that he was "threatened by gang members of the gang Kimberly is a member of for wanting to end the relationship with Kimberly," court documents say. The charges also say that Cruz tried to get the boy to join her gang.

"It was reported Kimberly became pregnant with the victim's child. I located a text message that supports that allegation from Kimberly's registered phone number to the victim's phone," the officer also wrote in the affidavit. "When Kimberly was being taken into custody, she informed me she had recently had surgery for a miscarriage. The procedure is believed to have taken place about a week ago in Mexico."

Before her arrest, Cruz allegedly sent the boy a "a photo of a pregnancy test that appears to be positive and refers to (the boy) as 'baby daddy," according to the charges. The boy claims he was confronted by Cruz's husband after she became pregnant and that the husband hit him.

The Granite School District released a prepared statement on Wednesday regarding the "disturbing" allegations.

"We are still gathering information on this matter, but Romero has been terminated as a result of these charges. Romero has only been employed with the district and Granite Park since the start of this current school year. Student safety is our primary concern, and we take these charges very seriously. There is currently no indication from Granite police that any other students were involved," the district said.

Cruz was a part-time employee with the school, according to the district. The Salt Lake County Sheriff's Office has also confirmed that she also worked very briefly as a civilian employee at the Salt Lake County Jail. She helped with jail funds for inmates from September to November of 2021. The sheriff's office did not provide a reason Wednesday for why she left after two months.

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Utah K-12 educationPolice & CourtsUtahSalt Lake County
Pat Reavy is a longtime police and courts reporter. He joined the KSL.com team in 2021, after many years of reporting at the Deseret News and KSL NewsRadio before that.


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