A teacher charged this year with committing lewd acts against children was investigated by his Sacramento school district in 2020 and 2021 for racist remarks and other inappropriate behavior, including calling a Black student a “burnt cockroach,” teasing students for their weight and describing his history of dating Black women.
Until his arrest in January, Kim Kenneth Wilson taught fifth grade. Records show he had worked at Del Paso Heights Elementary School since the 2000-2001 school year. He was placed on unpaid leave shortly after he was jailed.
These non-sexual student complaints against Wilson from 2020 and 2021 join a girl’s complaint of sexual assault made to the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department in 2019 and, more recently, child sexual assault reports made directly to the Sacramento Police Department.
An amended criminal complaint filed Aug. 7 in Sacramento Superior Court lists five sexual abuse victims, all 12 or younger. The document says that three of the victims were as young as 6 when the abuse started. In the court filing, the prosecutor wrote that the former Del Paso Heights Elementary School teacher recorded some of these assaults.
In 2022, one young woman reported to police that during the 2014-2015 school year, when she was in sixth grade, Wilson repeatedly assaulted her in the locked, padded and windowless broadcast room at Del Paso Heights Elementary School.
That young woman, identified as Jane Doe, filed a lawsuit against the Twin Rivers Unified School District and Wilson not long after he was charged, alleging in part that the district failed to supervise him properly. Her attorney, Lauren Cerri, confirmed that Jane Doe is one of the people participating in the criminal case.
The Sacramento Police Department has said that in 2019, the Twin Rivers Unified School District Police Department received a report — from someone other than Jane Doe — that Wilson engaged in lewd conduct with a minor in 2014. When the district police sent the case to the city police, that report was shelved.
In connection with Jane Doe’s civil suit, Cerri obtained public records from the school district that show multiple non-sexual complaints made against Wilson in the years leading up to his arrest. A representative for Twin Rivers Unified School District declined to comment on the records.
Public records released to Cerri show that on March 1, 2020, then-Del Paso Heights Principal Wendy Thompson wrote an email to the district’s director of human resources and labor relations, Jordan Alvarado. It was a chaotic time in the district: Twin Rivers Unified had just ended in-person learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Amid this upheaval, Thompson expressed serious concerns about Wilson’s ability to lead a classroom.
Thompson said she interviewed six students about Wilson’s behavior. Thompson wanted to place the teacher on immediate administrative leave.
The public records contain her Sunday night email: “Here are a few of the disturbing allegations in (the students’) oral and written witness statements:
▪ An African-American boy in the class being called a ‘burnt cockroach’
▪ Swearing with words like ‘bulls---, Shut the f--- up, leave the class b----…’
▪ Students being sprayed in the chest and face with a water bottle
▪ Calling students pigs and hippos
▪ Placing a picture of Big (Chungus) on the smartboard and having a chubby student stand in front of it and then said, ‘Don’t they look alike?’
▪ A student alleging the teacher removed his belt in class
▪ A student saying he makes them flinch and that he put his fist up playing with a student and hit her in the eye.”
At the end of her Sunday night email, Thompson said she had called and left a message for the human resources director on Friday but hadn’t heard back. “I will await further direction from you regarding this situation,” Thompson wrote in the email. “I am very concerned about these allegations and my students’ well-being.”
On Monday morning, Alvarado wrote back and said to send the written statements from the students. In the afternoon, she wrote and said that they could discuss it on the phone the following day, March 3. Public records show that after the conclusion of the investigation, Wilson received a letter of warning.
The Sacramento Bee’s attempts to reach Wilson’s attorney were unsuccessful. But the records show that Wilson did comment on the findings of the school’s investigation at the time.
In his written rebuttal, Wilson denied many of the allegations and said he believed that they were made by “a unique group” of students who were “mostly defiant, unfocused and disruptive during lecture, and small group interactions.” He told the administration that his students made these claims to “retaliate” against him.
Wilson kept working at the elementary school. In a letter included in the public records, he promised, among other things, “To not tap students on the head or back, or any other physical contact.”
Earlier that year, in the fall semester, the criminal complaint says some of the abuse against E.Y. Doe took place. She was 11.
‘Mr. Wilson gets “carried away”’
A year later, a parent complained on April 29, 2021, about Wilson’s behavior on April 23, 2021. Del Paso Heights Elementary School Vice Principal Rebecca Matt interviewed three students by April 30, the day after she received the parent’s complaint. “All three reported that Mr. Wilson gets ‘carried away’ and likes to talk about other things besides schoolwork,” Matt wrote.
In the public record, Matt recounts each of the students’ separate incident reports.
All three students said that Wilson told the class he had a nickname and wrote it on the board. The nickname contained the n-word.
One student reported that the teacher, who told the vice principal that he was both Asian and Black, “said when he was in high school he said he only dated black (girls), hung out with black guys, and went to black parties. All the black people he knows now from then are fat, have no teeth, and hair. He asked (a Black student in the class) if its (sic) ok if other people call the ‘n word.’ (That student) said ‘I think it depends.’”
The Black student was also interviewed in the school’s investigation, and he recalled the incident somewhat differently. That student remembered that his teacher asked whether he were Black. After he said that he was, the teacher asked whether he “would be offended if someone called me that. I said I don’t know.”
Wilson was placed on paid leave April 30, 2021. In the records of his conversation with Alvarado, Wilson confirmed that he spoke directly with his Black student about the n-word. However, in the teacher’s telling, he told his student, “I hope I haven’t offended you, I’m half Black, that’s all I said.”
The records show that Wilson confirmed that he wrote the slur on the board, but said he did so to describe how he was bullied as a child. He explained that he had “a lot of negative experiences in middle school” that came up for him when he discussed bullying with his fifth grade class. He told the HR director he regretted his actions.
On July 8, 2021, Wilson signed a letter of reprimand from Alvarado and the district. The letter stated that Wilson had apologized for his actions in class on April 23 of that year and explained there were “several mitigating factors including those related to current medical treatment.”
Still, the letter of reprimand said that he had violated standards and that he made students “feel physically, intellectually and emotionally unsafe.”
The public records show that Wilson was instructed, “Do not report to work if you are too unwell to manage or teach students.” He was told not to discuss his personal life with students and to refrain from “epithets pejorative of any person based on race, age, gender, sexual orientation, physical attribute, or other protected category.”
When the 2021-2022 school year began, Wilson returned to work.
In 2022, Jane Doe reported to Sacramento police that years earlier, Wilson sexually assaulted her on the elementary school campus. As of Aug. 7, prosecutors have charged the former teacher with 39 counts of sex crimes against children under 14. Wilson also faces one count of possession of images of child sexual abuse.
The prosecutor lists several aggravating factors at the end of the filing that, he suggests, the court should take into consideration. Among them:
“The defendant took advantage of a position of trust.”