Shock and disgust are some of the feelings being expressed today by people living near a child care center in Boyle Heights, where police say one of the owners of the facility is accused of committing lewd acts on three children.
Enrique Ramos, 45, was arrested last week and has been charged with three counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 years of age. He is jailed in lieu of $300,000 bail, however, prosecutors said they would seek to increase his bail to $1.3 million at his arraignment today.
Ramos is accused of molesting three different girls. If found guilty, he faces a maximum sentence of 15 years to life for each count. The crimes are believed to have been committed in 2008, 2009 and the most recent in 2013. The victims are currently 5-, 10-, and 11-years-old, but were 5 to 8 years old a the time of the alleged abuse, according to police.
Because Ramos worked at the childcare center he co-owned and police believe there is a possibility that there are more victims.
The “Cano & Ramos Child/Day Care Center,” located on the corner of Mott Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, was ordered to close down by childcare licensing authorities, though banners at the apartment were still hanging as news crews arrived to the talk to local residents. Ramos’ partner in the daycare business is not a suspect, Hollenbeck Captain Anita Ortega told EGP.
Neighbor Crispin Morales said he saw police at the location last week but didn’t know what was going on, he figured they were responding to a domestic violence incident somewhere in the immediate area. Morales was outraged by the news and said the childcare licensing agencies need to perform better background checks to prevent children being harmed.
Neighbor Hugo Morales, a college student aspiring to be a teacher, was surprised and shocked to hear that his neighbor, who he believed was a good dad with two small children of his own, was accused of harming children under his care.
“I never would have imagined something like that, it’s very concerning,” he said.
Morales said he saw parents dropping off their children and picking them up all the time, he also saw Ramos playing in the street with his two children in the past.
A photo of Ramos has been released and police are urging people who might have additional information or who might know of additional victims to contact LAPD Detective Steven Juarez, (323) 342-8994, or file a report at the LAPD Hollenbeck Station, 2111 E. First St., Los Angeles.
Information from City News Service was used in this report.