BENTON COUNTY, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — A former elementary school secretary aide and her husband have been arrested on charges that she allegedly helped him sexually abuse multiple minor girls.

Her husband, Ralph Cosio, 57, faces a litany of charges. Some of them are graphic and may be disturbing to readers:

  • Rape, three counts, a Class Y Felony
  • Producing, Directing, or Promoting a Sexual Performance by a Child, two counts, a Class B Felony
  • Employing or Consenting to the Use of a Child in a Sexual Performance, two counts, a Class C Felony
  • False Imprisonment in the First Degree, two counts, a Class C Felony
  • Sexual Indecency with a Child, two counts, a Class D Felony
  • Sexual Grooming of a Child, two counts, a Class D Felony
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Minor in the Second Degree, two counts, a Class A Misdemeanor
  • Coercion, two counts, a Class A Misdemeanor
  • Displaying Pornography to Minors, a Class B Misdemeanor
  • Voyeurism, a Class D Felony
Ralph and Minerva Cosio were booked into the Benton County jail. | Courtesy: Benton County Sheriff’s Office

Court documents show that Minerva Cosio, 55, of Lowell is facing charges of:

  • Permitting Abuse of a Minor, a Class B Felony
  • Intimidating a Witness, a Class C Felony
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Minor, 2nd Degree, a Class A misdemeanor.

Minerva Cosio is a former Secretary Aide at Elza R. Tucker Elementary School in Lowell. A court information sheet states that she had been an employee of the Rogers School District for 16 years.

His arrest came on November 17, 2021, after an investigation by the Lowell Police Department. According to an affidavit of probable cause, at approximately 11:08 a.m. on October 24, a minor girl filed a report that her friend had been sexually abused.

Court documents state that during interviews, Minerva Cosio admitted that she took two minor girls to Ralph Cosio’s apartment on “an unknown amount of occasions” and arranged for one or both girls to stay overnight at his residence.

The filing also states that Minerva Cosio allowed him to be with the girls “even after being informed of at least some of the sexual and psychological abuse that had and was continuing to occur.” She was arrested on January 22.

The Children’s Advocacy Center met with one of the victims, and police later observed a forensic interview at the Benton County Child Advocacy Center in Little Flock. Audio and video were recorded and observed by an investigator from the Arkansas State Police Crimes Against Children task force.

Details from interviews with the victims reveal that this was allegedly a pattern of behavior that went on for years. One victim stated that “he had touched them basically [their] whole lives.”

One victim wrote a letter to investigators, stating that “[he] molested me for as long as I can remember to about age 11 or 12.”

A check of Ralph Cosio’s criminal record reveals that he previously has arrests and/or convictions for Burglary (X2), Grand Theft Auto, Robbery (x3), Assault With a Deadly Weapon, Assault With Intent to Commit Bodily Harm, and Battery of a Peace Officer.

A spokesperson for Tucker Elementary said that “the charges against a former Tucker office aide and her spouse are not related to any school circumstances, and those facing charges no longer work for the school district.”

Ralph Cosio filed an Order of Indigency, requesting a public defender, and his bail was set at $200,000. On January 5, he entered a plea of not guilty and will next appear in court for an omnibus hearing on February 22.

Minerva Cosio’s bond was set at $25,000 and her next court date is scheduled for February 28. Both were booked into the Benton County Detention Center.