News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


Subject :

High School Teacher Arrested for Sex Crimes Against Student
Contact : Zach Perron, Lieutenant, Police Department    650-329-2413
Palo Alto, CA – Police arrested a Palo Alto High School science teacher last night for committing sex crimes against one of his students after the end of the school year.

On Monday, June 13, 2016, at about 8:44 p.m., our 24-hour dispatch center received a call from a parent that their 15-year-old daughter had been assaulted by a teacher.  The victim had recently completed ninth grade at Palo Alto High School, and the suspect had been her biology teacher during her freshman year (which ended on June 2).

The investigation revealed that the suspect had been communicating with the victim using private messaging on social media networks.  The suspect asked the victim to meet him at Palo Alto High School on Tuesday, June 7, at 9:00 a.m.  It was normal for the victim to help her teachers with chores and such in the classroom, and she agreed to meet him.

The suspect led the victim to his classroom, where the two of them were alone.  After engaging the victim in conversation, the suspect put his hands under the victim's clothes and touched her breasts.  He also took one of her hands and placed it on his groin over his clothing.  The suspect eventually told the victim to leave his classroom, which she did.

Detectives began investigating the case immediately.  The suspect continued corresponding with the victim via social media, and arranged to meet her at Palo Alto High School on the evening of Wednesday, June 15.  Detectives were there to meet him instead, and took him into custody without incident.

Police booked 46-year-old Ronnie Farrell of Palo Alto into the Santa Clara County Main Jail for four felony charges: child molestation, sexual battery, communicating with a minor with the intent to commit a sex crime, and arranging a meeting (and arriving at said meeting) with a minor with the intent to commit a sex crime.  His booking photo is attached.

Farrell is a full-time employee of the Palo Alto Unified School District.  He is not teaching any summer session classes.

Detectives are not aware of any additional victims at this time.  Anyone who believes that their child may be a victim is welcome to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call our 24-hour dispatch center at 650-329-2413.  Anonymous tips can be e-mailed to or sent via text message or voice mail to 650-383-8984.  Tips can also be submitted anonymously through our free mobile app, downloadable at or