San Miguel school aide accused of sex with student is placed on leave

Sarah Elizabeth Drown, 20, was arrested Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, on suspicion of unlawful sex with a minor. Original story »
Sarah Elizabeth Drown, 20, was arrested Friday, Jan. 27, 2012, on suspicion of unlawful sex with a minor. Original story »

Due to incorrect information furnished to The Tribune, an earlier version of this story incorrectly reported her employment status. She was put on unpaid leave until she was arrested.

A part-time afterschool aide and tutor at Lillian Larsen School in San Miguel has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an investigation into reports of an alleged sexual relationship with a minor, San Luis Obispo County schools Superintendent Julian Crocker said.

Sarah Drown, 20, of San Miguel was arrested Friday after San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office deputies received reports she allegedly had a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old student.

She was being held on suspicion of unlawful sex with a minor as of Monday night at San Luis Obispo County Jail in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Investigators say the alleged incident took place in November and just recently came to light.

The San Miguel school district referred questions about Drown to Crocker, who said Drown was in her first year of employment with the district.

Before she was hired, the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education ran her fingerprints through a California Department of Justice database.

That’s a standard procedure that the office conducts on anyone, including volunteers, who works with children, Crocker said. The results did not show any prior criminal record, he said.

Drown also signed paperwork when she was hired stating she understood the district’s sexual harassment policy.

She had not yet completed any sexual harassment training, which employees are legally required to undergo every two years. It is normally conducted by the district’s legal counsel.

According to a letter sent home Monday to parents from San Miguel district Superintendent Curt Dubost, the school district initiated an investigation Friday and then referred the matter to the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office.

“Please be assured that the district will take all action necessary to ensure students’ safety while they are attending school or school-sponsored programs,” Dubost wrote. “The employee has been placed on leave and has been directed not to be on the grounds of any of the schools, and she is prohibited from contacting students, parents or staff members.”

The school district will conduct its own investigation separate from the criminal investigation, Crocker said, which could result in disciplinary action including termination.

Counselors were available Monday for students, Crocker said. About 350 students attend the K-8 school.