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Santa Monica teacher pleads guilty in molestation cases

December 22, 2008 | 12:01 pm

A Santa Monica middle school teacher pleaded guilty today to multiple counts of illegal sex acts with young girls and is scheduled to be sentenced to 14 years in state prison, prosecutors said.

Thomas Arthur Beltran, 61, taught at Lincoln Middle School for 20 years and admitted to sexually molesting nine girls. Beltran also admitted to molesting two others but was not charged in those cases because the statute of limitations had expired.

The plea deal was reached as a preliminary hearing in the case was set to begin.

The counts against Beltran include continuous sexual abuse, lewd act on a child and sexual penetration with a foreign object of a child younger than age 14.

Judge William Hollingsworth sentenced Beltran to 14 years in state prison and required that he register as a sex offender when he is released.

Beltran, who taught English as a second language to seventh graders at Lincoln Middle School, was arrested in May when a 12-year-old student reported incidents of alleged abuse to her parents, launching an investigation by Santa Monica police.

-- Andrew Blankstein