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South L.A. day-care center operator accused of lewd acts with a 13-year-old

December 20, 2010 |  2:48 pm

A South Los Angeles day-care center operator has been arrested on suspicion of lewd acts with her godson after she was allegedly caught having sex with the 13-year-old in a van, Los Angeles police said Monday.

Chelsea Nichole McClelland, 34, was arrested Friday afternoon near Apple Street and Alsace Avenue,  just north of the Santa Monica Freeway near La Brea Avenue, police said.

McClelland, who was arrested on suspicion of multiple instances of lewd acts with a child, is being held in lieu of $400,000 bail at the Van Nuys jail. McClelland could not be reached for comment, and there was no answer at the number listed for the day-care center.

"Working cases like these involving young children is always disturbing, especially when you are a parent," said Det. Kim Porter, who heads the LAPD's West Bureau sexual assault detail.

Last week, Mid-City residents reported seeing a white van repeatedly parked in the neighorhood. Police responded Friday and discovered the boy inside the vehicle. The boy initially told them he was 18, but after being interviewed by LAPD sex crimes detectives, he acknowledged that he was 13.

McClelland owned and operated a day-care center out of her home in the 4500 block of 3rd Avenue, according to the LAPD. Police said they believe some of the illegal contact took place when the victim was 12.

McClelland has three biological children and is the legal guardian of a fourth. At the time of her arrest, she was caring for eight children at her day-care center. Police and the Child and Family Services Department looked after the children to ensure that they were probably cared for and relocated.

-- Andrew Blankstein