January 24, 2013 — A fourth-grade teacher at a public school in Los Angeles has been arrested for allegedly sexually abusing 20 children and one adult. Robert Pimental, a 57 year-old man from Newport Beach, was arrested yesterday morning by the Los Angeles Police Department following a 10-month long investigation. Several female students at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School told their parents that Pimental had touched them inappropriately.
Pimental is charged with eight counts of continuous sexual abuse and seven counts of lewd acts upon a child. He is being held at LAPD Metropolitan Detention Center on $12 million bail. Parents were notified of the arrest by letter and phone this week. His teaching credentials have been revoked and he is no longer a part of the teachers’ union.
Superintendent John Deasy immediately removed Pimental from the classroom when the allegations surfaced in March 2012. Deasy also removed the school’s principal, because he felt that the situation had not been handled properly. The school district then attempted to fire both men, but they both retired one week before the school board could meet and present a “notice of termination.” Because they retired before they were fired, both men will receive full pensions. Pimental was employed by the school district for 40 years.
The Los Angeles Unified School District, the second-largest in the United States, has been rocked by allegations of sexual abuse at its schools. In January 2012, a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School was arrested after a photo-developer found pictures of Mark Berndt spoon-feeding semen to students in a classroom. Approximately 200 claims of molestation and lewd conduct stem from that case.
In November, the school district was accused of failing to promptly report 150 cases of suspected teacher misconduct to state authorities, as is required by law. The reports included allegations of sexual abuse. The school district claims that the lapses in reporting have been addressed.
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