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Drama teacher charged with 26 felony sex acts with two students

A Bell High school drama teacher was charged Tuesday with multiple felony sex crimes involving two students a decade or more ago at a Los Angeles high school, and police suspect there may be other possible victims.

Peter Christoph Gomez, 48, of La Habra, was teaching at Benjamin Franklin High School in Highland Park when authorities allege he sexually abused two students, who were 14 to 18 years old, between June 1999 and September 2003.

Gomez, a popular and well-known drama and history teacher at Los Angeles Unified's Bell High School, made a brief appearance in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom Tuesday and pleaded not guilty to 26 felony counts. He was ordered held in lieu of $1.5-million bail.

Los Angeles police detectives from the Northeast Division appealed Tuesday for other victims to come forward and contact the department. Detectives arrested Gomez on riday.

He is charged with eight counts of oral copulation of a person under 16, six counts of oral copulation of a person under 19, five counts of sodomy of a person under 16, three counts of sodomy of someone under 18 and four counts of committing lewd acts upon a child. Gomez, if convicted of all the charges, would face 20 years in prison

Los Angeles Unified officials said Gomez has worked for the district since 1996 and moved to Bell in 2005.

Los Angeles police Dets. Tina Teague and Michelle Gomez ask other victims and witnesses to contact them at (323) 344-5742.

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richard.winton@latimes.com

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