Tuolumne County Superior Court Judge Kevin M. Seibert on Wednesday postponed the sentencing of a woman convicted on multiple counts of sexual intercourse with a minor until a 90-day diagnostic evaluation within a state prison can be conducted to determine her risk of reoffending.
Kimberly Ramirez, 39, sat beside her defense attorney David Beyersdorf while both the 17-year-old male victim and his mother read prepared statements to the court, at times staring blankly forward, and at others bowing her head toward her cuffed hands.
The victim took a seat next to Deputy District Attorney Eric Hovatter and spoke in the microphone to describe how he had become “haunted” by the many-month sexual relationship he had maintained with Ramirez from August 2016 until Oct. 31, 2016, when Ramirez was arrested.
“I am the victim of sexual assault. The impact that this has had on my life is more than I’ve ever envisioned,” he said, noting that the events had strained his relationship with his mother and family.
“She was the adult in this situation, and she should have not done what she did.”
Before issuing his judgment, Judge Kevin M. Seibert described Ramirez as “a completely selfish person, a person who was only caring about her own sexual gratification.”
He had read a series of letters written by Ramirez’s loved ones, he said, but could not “reconcile with what I saw at the trial with those letters.”
Despite the “overwhelming evidence,” he added, it was “astonishing” that Ramirez had testified “that she had no idea what we were talking about.”
What was further “appalling,” he said, was her “meritless and fruitless attempt to portray herself as someone who would never” bring someone into her home by having her 13-year-old son testify in her defense.
But despite all the evidence presented at the trial, since the Sonora Police Department had not issued search warrants for Ramirez’s computer or phone, Seibert said he did not have adequate information to make a risk assessment on her potential to reoffend.
“I have no idea whether this was a one-off experience or if she was trolling for minors,” he said. “We know she got caught this time.”
Seibert said that following the 90-day evaluation, the prison would probably require at least another month to prepare the report.
Seibert also made multiple references to Ramirez’s probation report during the course of the hearing and clarified with the victim’s mother that her described endorsement of one year in county jail with 5 years probation sentence was “inaccurate.”
The victim’s mother had just previously given an impassioned speech denouncing Ramirez by name on multiple instances and her use of social media to lure her son into a sexual relationship.
The mother appealed to Seibert for a full sentencing to protect society from a “predator” who had imposed her “insatiable sexual appetite” on her minor son.
“She abused her authority and position for her own personal gain and never cared about my son,” she said.
The mother said she relived daily the “painful event” and had grown concerned about community retribution and her son’s own mental health in the aftermath of the trial.
“I’m concerned about his safety and emotional well-being that Kimberley Ramirez’s egotistic behavior” will have on his future relationships, she said.
If she, as a mother, had not “exposed” her, she added, her son “could have been the victim of human trafficking.”
The hearing was originally scheduled at 1 p.m. in Department 4 of the Tuolumne County Superior Court in order to ensure the privacy of the forthcoming statements of the teenage victim and his mother.
At 1:30 p.m., the hearing had still not begun and the courtroom was already filled with guests, Tuolumne County Sheriff’s deputies, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) correctional officers, and three CDCR inmates.
After a brief discussion with counsel, the hearing was immediately moved to Department 3, just next door, and a full procession of all the involved parties marched to the adjacent room.
In his statement to Seibert, Beyersdorf described Ramirez as an “exemplary citizen,” despite the “aberrant behavior” of her convicted crimes.
Noting that Ramirez had already received “humiliation in the public,” and had lost her job and career following the conviction, Beyersdorf appealed to Seibert that he follow the recommendation outlined in the probation report.
“A year in jail is not a small thing,” he said. “It’s a very big deal.”
Hovatter recommended that Seibert sentence Ramirez to four years in state prison to send out a message “loud and clear” that “all those that seek to prey on minor children” will punished with a prison term commensurate with their crimes.
Hovatter’s statement sought to subvert Beyersdorf’s argument that Ramirez’s history as a correctional officer and custody of her 13-year-old son should equate to a less punitive sentencing.
Ramirez “day to day saw the living consequences of criminal behavior,” Hovatter said, but still ignored the “immeasurable” damage subjected to the victim and deliberately jeopardized her own livelihood in the process.
“She completely and totally lied to the jury and court under oath,” he said, referencing Ramirez’s testimony during the three-day trial that she had never communicated or met with the teenage victim.
That fact alone, he added, meant she was “incapable of remorse and capable to reoffend.”
The next hearing will be at 1:30 p.m. Jan. 31 in Department 4.
Ramirez faces up to seven years in state prison following her conviction on three counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, oral copulation with a minor, communicating with a minor for lewd purposes and meeting a minor for lewd acts, all felonies, and arranging a meeting with a minor for lewd purposes, a misdemeanor.