20 students sexually abused by ex-school teacher, LAPD says
A former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of committing lewd acts and sexually abusing 20 children and an adult, law enforcement authorities said.
Robert Pimentel, 57, who taught at George de la Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington, was taken into custody by Los Angeles Police Department detectives who had launched an investigation in March after several fourth-grade girls said they had been inappropriately touched, authorities said.
Prosecutors filed 15 charges against Pimentel involving a dozen of his alleged victims. The charges involve sexual abuse and lewd acts on a child and cover a period from September 2011 to March 2012, according to court records
Los Angeles police detectives suspect that Pimentel victimized another eight children and the adult, LAPD Capt. Fabian Lizarraga told The Times.
He said Pimentel is suspected of inappropriately touching the childen under and over their clothing.
The arrest comes as the nation’s second-largest school district has been rocked in recent months by allegations of sexual misconduct involving teachers and students.
In January, a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood was arrested for allegedly spoon-feeding semen to students in a classroom and taking dozens of photos of students. Some of the photos show students blindfolded and being fed allegedly tainted cookies.
On Wednesday evening, L.A. Unified Supt. John Deasy said both Pimentel and the school’s principal were immediately removed when the district found out about the allegations in March.
Deasy said he removed the principal because he was “dissatisfied” with how the incident was handled at the school.
District officials prepared a “notice of termination” for Pimentel and the principal that they had planned to present to the Board of Education in April, Deasy said. But the two employees retired before the board meeting.
He said Pimentel and the principal will receive their full pensions because they retired before any actions were taken.
“Can you go back and fire someone who’s already retired? No, you can’t,” Deasy said.
-- Richard Winton, Robert J. Lopez and Howard Blume