Teacher Accused of Molesting 20 Children Will Still Get Pension

WILMINGTON, Calif. (KTLA) — A former elementary school teacher with the Los Angeles Unified School District has been arrested in a sexual abuse case involving at least 20 children and one adult. Robert Pimentel, 57, who taught at George de La Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington, was taken into custody on Wednesday by LAPD detectives. Police launched an investigation last March after several fourth grade girls said they had been inappropriately touched. Some of the children told their parents they had been abused, and the parents then altered the LAPD’s Harbor Division.

Prosecutors filed 15 charges against Pimentel involving a dozen of his alleged victims. He is being held on $12 million bail and was expected to appear in court on Thursday. The charges involve sexual abuse and lewd acts on a child and cover the period from September 2011 to March 2012, according to court records. Authorities said the teacher is suspected of inappropriately touching children under and over their clothing.

Pimentel is suspected of victimizing and additional eight children and an adult co-worker.Of the 20 alleged minor victims, 19 were students at the school, said LAPD Capt. Fabian Lizarraga. Detectives discovered the other child as they gathered evidence. LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy said both Pimentel and the school’s principal were immediately removed when the district found out about the allegations in March. Deasy said he removed the principal because he was “dissatisfied” with how the situation was handled at the school. The principal has not been identified. The district said parents were informed within 72 hours after Pimentel was removed from the campus. The California Commission of Teacher Credentialing was also promptly notified. District officials prepared a “notice of termination” for Pimentel and the principal, according to Deasy. They had planned to present it to the Board of Education in April 2012, but both retired before the board meeting. Because they retired before the district took action, they will get their full pensions.

“People who commit acts like this should be terminated, and that termination should be made easy,” Deasy said on Thursday morning.

“We should not have cumbersome state laws around this, and you should be able to fire someone even if they choose to retire. We notified the office of teacher credentialing the very day of the action. To my knowledge, I don’t think his credential has ever been revoked, either.” Pimentel, who lives in Newport Beach, had been a teacher with the district since 1974.

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