Ongoing coverage of child abuse in schools

Lawyers Accuse LAUSD of Trying to Cover Up Teacher Abuse

By Hetty Chang and Samantha Tata
|  Friday, Feb 22, 2013  |  Updated 10:14 PM PDT
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Attorneys who represent alleged victims of a school sex abuse scandal claim the LAUSD is trying to cover up allegations by throwing out their claims. However, the school district says it's just a big misunderstanding. Hetty Chang reports from Wilmington for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2013.

Hetty Chang

Attorneys who represent alleged victims of a school sex abuse scandal claim the LAUSD is trying to cover up allegations by throwing out their claims. However, the school district says it's just a big misunderstanding. Hetty Chang reports from Wilmington for the NBC4 News at 6 p.m. on Feb. 22, 2013.

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Lawyers for at least four students in the Los Angeles Unified School District accused the district on Friday of trying to cover up allegations of teacher abuse by tossing out charges, but the district said it’s all a misunderstanding.

The abuse allegations were leveled against former teacher Robert Pimentel, who used to work at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington.

"What we have here is systematic attempts to cover up further sexual abuse of students within the LAUSD," said attorney Michael Carrillo.

Carillo and other students’ lawyers received letters from the school district stating that, by law, the claims of abuse were being rejected because they were not submitted in time. The attorneys said that move is an attempt to protect the school’s staff, and not children, among them at least 20 who may have been victimized by Pimentel.

But the school district chalked it up to what officials called a clerical error. In a statement released Friday, the district said, in part, that the rejection letters were inadvertently sent out and that the district is continuing to review the four claims submitted in this case "the attention they deserve."

Pimentel, 57, of Newport Beach, left his position with the school during the investigation, which began March 15, 2012.

The investigation began when several girls told their parents that they had been inappropriately touched by a fourth-grade teacher during school.

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