School employees arrested for allegedly having sex with high school students

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Monday, January 19, 2015
Melody Lippert (left) and Michelle Ghirelli (right) are shown in their mug shots.
Melody Lippert (left) and Michelle Ghirelli (right) are shown in their mug shots.
Orange County Sheriff's Department-KABC

COVINA, California -- Two Orange County, California school employees were arrested Saturday on suspicion of having sexual relationships with high school students.

Melody Lippert, 38, and Michelle Ghirelli, 30, - employees of the Covina-Valley Unified School District - were booked into Orange County Jail on $20,000 and $50,000 bail, respectively. They were scheduled to be arraigned on Wednesday.

In November 2014, Lippert, an English teacher at South Hills High School, allegedly provided alcohol to a group of male students at San Clemente State Beach and had sexual relations with one of the teens.

A few weeks later, Lippert organized an overnight camping trip at the same beach with Ghirelli, a district employee, and many of the same students. Both allegedly engaged in sexual relations with students. The event was not sponsored by the school.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department did not specify the type of sexual relationship involved, but Lippert was arrested for conspiracy and contributing to the delinquency of a minor and Ghirelli was arrested for oral copulation and unlawful sex with a minor.

Sheriff's deputies were tipped off Friday by the West Covina Police Department. The arrests come nearly two weeks after the arrest of a part-time wrestling coach within the district.

Anthony Vidales, 29, of Covina was arrested on suspicion of a sex-related incident with a 17-year-old student. Vidales was a walk-on coach for the South Hills High School varsity girl's wrestling team.

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