SANTA ANA (CNS) - A former Orange County sheriff's deputy who has been charged with showing pornography to an underage girl is scheduled to be arraigned on March 7, according to court records.
Former Deputy Justin Ramirez was charged Thursday with distributing or exhibiting pornography to a minor, according to court records. Ramirez, who was a school resource officer at the time of the alleged incident, resigned his position, a sheriff's spokesman, who did not know when the deputy quit, said.
Ramirez is accused of showing the pornography to the girl on Sept. 2.
The alleged victim's attorney, Michael Guisti, said he intends to file a claim with the county but was waiting until charges were filed.
According to Guisti, the victim was called over with other girls to a group of boys who were gathered around Ramirez's car near Trabuco Hills High School in Mission Viejo. The deputy allegedly showed them what "was described as two people humping," Guisti said.
The alleged victim's mother called sheriff's deputies to complain and asked them to not send over the deputy who showed the teens the pornography, Guisti said.
Ramirez was dispatched to the call and the woman did not know that he was the one who allegedly showed the teens the pornography, Guisti said.
"She poured her heart out to the guy," the attorney said.
About a week later, sheriff's officials, including Sheriff Don Barnes himself, called her to apologize, Guisti said. They said an internal probe had been launched.
"This pervert is targeting minors and showing them pornography that is both sexual and violent in nature," the victim's mother said in a statement released by Guisti.
"I want him off the street," she added. "He was in a position of trust so that he could protect people in Orange County. But he abused his power and authority in the worst possible way. No child should ever see what this sheriff's deputy showed my daughter."
According to the Orange County District Attorney's Office, Ramirez was accused of displaying the video to two teen girls during the lunch hour. The video showed a woman being stabbed to death and a video exhibiting "graphic drug use," prosecutors alleged.
The teens called two other girls over to the patrol car and he allegedly showed them the videos as well, prosecutors said.
Ramirez was a defendant in a federal wrongful death lawsuit stemming from the in-custody death of Chong Tok "Richard" Rha in La Mirada in August 2019. Orange County supervisors in October 2021 voted to approve a $1.5 million settlement with the man's family.
Orange County prosecutors cleared Ramirez and Deputy Laurie Schwartz of any criminal conduct in the arrest of Rha. The two were in a violent struggle with Rha as they tried to take him into custody on July 15, 2019.
An autopsy showed Rha had amphetamine, methamphetamine and marijuana in his system. The cause of death was considered accidental and "consistent with cardiac arrhythmia associated with a physical altercation," according to a report from the District Attorney's Office. The doctor who did the autopsy "concluded that Rha's cause of death was acute exacerbation of chronic methamphetamine use, and noted as other conditions the struggle with law enforcement and the use of Taser, as well as eosinophilic pneumonia," according to prosecutors.
The man's family also alleged in their lawsuit that they were forced to sit in heated police squad cars for hours, which they said was a wrongful arrest.