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Author Topic: L.A. Teacher Robert Pimentel Arrested - Sexual Abuse of up to 20 Students  (Read 2595 times)
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« on: January 24, 2013, 06:53:00 PM »
L.A. teacher accused of sex abuse of up to 20 kids
January 24, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A fourth-grade teacher who worked nearly 40 years in the Los Angeles Unified School District has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing 20 students, a year after another veteran teacher accused of molesting nearly two dozen pupils brought national attention to the district and the problem of classroom sex abuse.

After a 10-month investigation, eight felony counts of continual sexual abuse and seven counts of lewd acts upon a child were filed Wednesday against Robert Pimentel, of Newport Beach, for abuse that allegedly took place at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary in the Wilmington area, officer Christopher No told The Associated Press.

In addition to the 15 felonies, misdemeanor charges are expected for the remaining incidents, No said. Pimentel's bail has been set at $12 million, and an arraignment date hasn't been set.

Police and school officials said Pimentel is also suspected of the sexual abuse of one adult, but they did not say what role, if any, that person had at the school.

Pimentel, 57, left his fourth-grade teaching position last March when allegations arose from several girls who told their parents he inappropriately touched them during school and police opened an investigation.

District officials immediately removed him from campus and parents and state credentialing authorities were informed, school district spokesman Daryl Strickland said. Parents and guardians will be told of the arrest by letter and phone, he said.

Before the official dismissal process with the Board of Education could begin, Pimentel, who had worked for the district since 1974, retired.
Deasy said the school's principal was also immediately removed because the superintendent was "dissatisfied" with how the reported criminal activity was handled.

Court records obtained by the Times show the allegations covered a period between Sept. 2011 to March 2012.

LAPD Capt. Fabian Lizzaraga told the newspaper Pimentel is suspected of inappropriately touching the children over and under their clothing.

The Los Angeles teachers' union issued a statement that called the abuse described in the allegations "horrific" and said Pimentel was no longer a member and the union would not be involved in his defense.

  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
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« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2016, 08:02:27 AM »
L.A. school district reaches $88-million settlement in sex misconduct cases at two campuses
May 16, 2016

The Los Angeles school district will pay $88 million to settle sexual abuse cases at two elementary schools where complaints about the teachers behavior had surfaced long before their arrest, officials confirmed Monday.

The settlement with 30 children and their families, finalized over the weekend, is the second largest in district history, and brings a dark chapter to an apparent close.

The cases at De La Torre Elementary in Wilmington and Telfair Avenue Elementary in Pacoima, emerged in the aftermath of better-known sexual misconduct at Miramonte Elementary, south of downtown. Altogether, a spate of prosecutions and lawsuits led to huge settlements and spurred the district to announce a raft of reforms at the nation's second-largest school system.

"We’re glad that we’re able to resolve both of these cases so we can avoid potentially painful litigation and put these cases behind us," said Gregory McNair, a senior attorney with L.A. Unified. "We’re turning a corner here because we’ve resolved the last two very large cases that were involving the district."

The De La Torre litigation encompassed 18 children and 19 of their parents (who sued separately).
The Telfair settlement involved 12 minors. The agreement provides for a process to distribute the money fairly, but the average payout will be about about $3 million per family, including sums that two of the Telfair students won through a jury verdict last year.

The two schools are at opposite ends of the sprawling school system -- Telfair in the north, De La Torre in the south. And Miramonte was miles from both. All three schools served predominantly low-income communities and involved veteran teachers who had been relatively popular, but whose conduct had raised questions in the past.

Robert Pimentel's case also involves a long chain of accusations that led to little or no action, according to court documents filed by the plaintiffs.

Former district Principal Irene Hinojosa fielded complaints about Pimentel's aggressive affection for children as early as 2002, when she documented a conference with Pimentel about touching and slapping young girls' buttocks and touching their calves.

The teacher admitted the conduct, according to the document, with the excuse that he was on medication, which increased his sex hormones. Three years later, Hinojosa received a search warrant requesting “Mr. Pimentel’s employment and personnel files” because of an investigation into Pimentel's alleged abuse of a minor who was related to him.

In 2009, senior administrators learned of accusations against Pimentel from a report by social worker Holly Priebe-Diaz, who talked to a group of about 40 parents demonstrating against the principal.

An internal district memo, marked confidential, said soon after that “the district guidelines regarding reporting cases of child endangerment may not have been followed.”

Allegations about Pimentel filtered up through administrators Valerie Moses and Mike Romero -- all the way to senior regional administrator Linda Del Cueto. The complaints, although not lurid, provided more than enough grounds to launch a full investigation, plaintiff attorneys said.

About a dozen students complained about sexual misconduct by Pimentel that occurred after the 2009 allegations. In abuse cases, liability is not established by the acts themselves, but by whether a school system could have or should have known about a potential problem, according to experts.

The district administrators accused of inaction repeatedly denied wrongdoing or declined to comment.

Del Cueto, reached at the district on Monday, said that at this point she is unwilling to discuss the case.

Then-Supt. John Deasy removed Hinojosa as principal and she subsequently left the district for another job, according to state records.

Deasy suspended the three other administrators, along with current Principal David Kooper. Kooper was, for a time, an aide to school board member Richard Vladovic, who represents that area. Investigators apparently found nothing incriminating against either Vladovic or Kooper. Deasy demoted Romero and Del Cueto.

Deasy's successor, Ramon Cortines, restored them to more senior positions. Moses has retired, according to district records.

"The LAUSD is more interested in protecting teachers and administrators than in protecting the children within the LAUSD," said plaintiffs' attorney Luis Carrillo.

Pimentel pleaded no contest to sexually assaulting four girls, including a relative, and was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
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