Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca on Friday mailed a letter to an estimated 1,400 parents of students at Miramonte Elementary telling them “not to worry about immigration status” if they had any information on the sexual abuse scandal that has plagued the school.
Two teachers have been charged with multiple counts of lewd conduct against several students at Miramonte Elementary—a school in South Los Angeles who’s student body is made up of 98% Latinos and 2% black students. The majority of the students at the school are English-language learners. The letter was sent out in both Spanish and English.
The letter was mailed out on the same day a lawyer announced he knew about at least three alleged victims that have not been interviewed by law enforcement because their parents fear deportation.
“Our investigators will continue to work with everyone who is willing to share information.” L.A. County Sheriff Leroy Baca wrote in the letter.
“Please know that we will not ask about your or anyone’s immigration status, nor will any information be shared with immigration,” he continued to write in the letter.
“He is so adamant about this that he has put this in writing,” L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KABC news on Friday.
Baca closed his letter by reminding parents his department is only interested in making sure they “gather all the available facts and make a safe environment for your children while they attend school.
“As a result of stepped up immigration enforcement programs like Secure Communities, undocumented immigrants, even those who have absolutely no criminal record, regularly get deported. It’s also further complicated because Sheriff Baca actually defended his county’s use of the immigration enforcement program Secure Communities just last year in an L.A. Times op-ed,” Colorlines.com’s Julianne Hing explained last week.
LA County Sheriff sent a copy of the letter to Colorlines.com on Monday afternoon. The letter is published in it’s entirety below.