Ongoing coverage of child abuse in schools

Former LAUSD Teacher Pleads Not Guilty in School Sex Abuse Case

Case involves 12 children, according to police

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    NEWSLETTERS

    LAPD confirmed to NBC4 that the former principal at George De La Torre, Jr., Elementary School in Wilmington could face charges after an ex-teacher there was arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing children. Kim Baldonado reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2013. (Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013)

    A retired teacher pleaded not guilty Thursday to charges of sexually abusing children while a teacher at George De La Torre, Jr., Elementary School in Wilmington.

    Robert Pimentel, 57, of Newport Beach, pleaded not guilty to 15 counts of child sexual abuse of 12 victims, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

    Ex-LAUSD Teacher Pleads Not Guilty in School Sex Abuse Case

    [LA] Ex-LAUSD Teacher Pleads Not Guilty in School Sex Abuse Case
    Robert Pimentel, a former fourth-grade teacher at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington, pleaded not guilty to charges of sexually assaulting at least 20 children. Parents at the school said they had suspicions about the teacher for some time. Michelle Valles reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2013. (Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013)

    The investigation began when several girls told their parents that they had been inappropriately touched by a fourth-grade teacher during school at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School.

    Parents reacted on Thursday to the news of the arrest.

    Wilmington Teacher Faces Accusations

    [LA] Wilmington Teacher Faces Accusations
    Parents react after meeting to discuss the latest allegations involving an LAUSD employee. Lolita Lopez reports from Wilmington. (Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013)

    “We bring our kids to school thinking that it’s the safest place for them to be,” said parent Daisy Torres, after a closed-door meeting with 106 parents and LAUSD officials. “And for us to find out that it’s happening in school and it’s one of the teachers in the class, it worries me because here we’re working and thinking they’re safe and they’re actually not.”

    Pimentel left his position with the school during the investigation, which began March 15, 2012.

    Ex-Teacher Arrested in School Sex Abuse Case

    [LA] Ex-Teacher Arrested in School Sex Abuse Case
    Robert Pimental, 57, is charged with eight counts of continuous sexual abuse and seven counts of lewd acts upon a child, and police say at least 20 children and one adult may have been victimized by the former teacher. Kim Baldonado reports from Wilmington for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Jan. 23, 2013. (Published Wednesday, Jan 23, 2013)

    Prosecutors allege Pimentel abused 12 children under 14-years-old from September 2011 to March 2012. Some of the victims were abused multiple times, prosecutors said.

    "There was no touching of any private parts by anybody," said Pimentel's attorney, Richard Knickerbocker.

    Wilmington Teacher Removed Amid Allegations

    [LA] Wilmington Teacher Removed Amid Allegations
    A teacher at a Wilmington elementary school has been removed from the classroom amid allegations of inappropriate conduct. The school's teacher has also been removed, but officials did not say why. Lolita Lopez reports from George de la Torre Jr. Elementary School. (Published Tuesday, Mar 20, 2012)

    Students' parents were told about the allegations last March within 72 hours of Pimental's removal from campus, in accordance with LAUSD policy, school officials said.

    Coincidentally, that's also when the school's principal, Irene Hinojosa, retired. LAPD officials told NBC4 late Thursday that Hinojosa could face charges in connection with the investigation.

    Wilmington Teacher Faces Accusations

    [LA] Wilmington Teacher Faces Accusations
    Parents react after meeting to discuss the latest allegations involving an LAUSD employee. Lolita Lopez reports from Wilmington. (Published Thursday, Jan 24, 2013)

    Magdalena Gonzalez, a school volunteer, says Hinojosa should be held accountable, in addition to the school district. Gonzalez says a group of concerned parents had their suspicions about Pimentel and reported him to Hinojosa, but Gonzalez claims parents were ignored.

    "That's the pattern of the LA Unified School District," said Luis Carrillo, who represented victims in the Miramonte sex scandal. "Parents complain, parents are ignored."

    Pimentel had worked for the LAUSD since 1974. He was assigned to the school in Wilmington in 2007.

    Anyone with information about the case was asked to contact police at 213-486-0570.

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