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L.A. Unified responds to allegations of sex abuse by Pacoima teacher

February 10, 2012 |  5:31 pm

Los Angeles Unifed responded Friday to the revelation that another teacher, this one at a Pacoima elementary school, faces charges of sexual abuse by condemning the allegations and saying the teacher had been removed from the classroom before his arrest.

Paul Chapel, a third-grade teacher at Telfair Elementary School, had been charged with 15 counts of lewd acts and continuous sexual abuse with three girls and one boy, each younger than 14, between Sept. 13, 2010, and April 15, 2011, according to a Sept. 28 complaint from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

The district, in a statement released Friday, said that it learned "complaints against the teacher were lodged in the spring of last year," adding that Chapel was removed in April. The district did not disclose the amount of time that elapsed between learning of the allegations and his removal.

Chapel, 50, was arrested in October, and his teaching credentials were also suspended.

The charges were not publicized and parents at the school weren't informed. The allegations surrounding Chapel were initially reported Thursday by the Los Angeles Daily News. 

At the time the allegations were raised, the district said it was instructed by Los Angeles police to not proceed with any internal investigation or release any information about the case.

L.A. Unified said Chapel's former students had been interviewed by investigators.

L.A. school board member Nury Martinez, whose board district includes the Pacoima school, had been meeting with parents on Friday, who she said were understandably angry about the allegations.

"These charges represent the most heinous and unacceptable acts that can be perpetrated against young and vulnerable children that deserve to be protected by the adults that are responsible for their safety and well-being," she said in a statement.

Chapel is listed as a “more effective than average” teacher of mat, and “less effective than average” teacher of English, based on the scores of 114 students between 2004 and 2010, according to the L.A. Times database analyzing teachers’ effectiveness.

-- Sam Quinones and Rick Rojas