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South L.A. day care operator charged with lewd acts on 13-year-old

March 29, 2011 | 12:14 pm

Prosecutors charged a South Los Angeles day care center operator Tuesday with sexually molesting her godson after she was allegedly caught having sex with the 13-year-old in a van.

Chelsea Nichole McClelland, 34, was arrested in December near Apple Street and Alsace Avenue, just north of the Santa Monica Freeway near La Brea Avenue. Charges were not immediately filed and she was released.

But she was charged Tuesday with four felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14. The alleged acts occurred between Dec. 1 and Dec. 17, according to Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

McClelland was rearrested without incident Tuesday morning and was being held in lieu of $400,000 bail. If convicted on all counts, she faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in state prison, prosecutors said.

Mid-City residents reported seeing a white van repeatedly parked in the neighborhood. Los Angeles police investigators responded 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 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 initial arrest by the LAPD, she was caring for eight children at her day care center. Police and the Department of Children and Family Services looked after the children to ensure they were properly cared for and relocated.

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-- Andrew Blankstein

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