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Former high school principal pleads no contest to molesting four students

June 8, 2010 |  2:40 pm

A former principal and volleyball coach at a Lynwood-area high school pleaded no contest Tuesday to sexually molesting four students, prosecutors said.

Jonas Vital Silverio, 41, pleaded no contest to 10 counts of lewd acts on a child of 14 or 15. Judge John Cheroske ordered Silverio back in court Sept. 7 for sentencing following a 90-day evaluation by the state Department of Corrections.

Silverio, the former principal at Firebaugh High School in Lynwood, faces a maximum of eight years in state prison.

The no-contest plea stems from the molestation of four girls, all but one of whom played on volleyball teams he coached. The crimes took place from 1996 to 2007, mostly on campus, including his office, said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Prosecutors said Silverio would force himself on his victims, trying to kiss them and force his hands under their clothing.

He resigned as Firebaugh principal just before trying to leave for the Philippines in May 2009. Detectives from the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department's special victims bureau arrested him in July at Los Angeles International Airport.

-- Andrew Blankstein