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Ex-teacher pleads no contest to molestation

A 58-year-old Newport Beach man pleaded no contest Thursday to charges that he molested a relative and students from a Los Angeles school where he worked.

Robert Pimentel, a former teacher at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington, sexually abused four girls between 2002 and 2012, according to the Los Angeles district attorney's office.

One of those victims was from Newport Beach.

As part of an agreement with prosecutors, Pimentel pleaded no contest in Los Angeles County Superior Court to one felony count of continuous sexual abuse and three felony counts of lewd act on a child.

He's expected to be sentenced to 12 years in state prison, to be required to register as a sex offender and to be barred from approaching his victims for 10 years.

Allegations against Pimentel originally surfaced years earlier. In 2005, the Newport Beach Police Department submitted a sexual abuse case involving four victims to the Orange County district attorney's office.

Prosecutors sent police back twice for more investigation between 2005 and 2007, but ultimately did not file charges due to "insufficient evidence, lack of corroboration, problems with the availability of witnesses and other evidentiary issues," Orange County Dist. Atty. Chief of Staff Susan Kang Schroeder said last year.

The abuse continued for years after that decision, according to Los Angeles prosecutors.

In March 2012, a victim in one of Pimentel's classes told her mother he'd been inappropriately touching her, according to the Los Angeles district attorney's office.

LAPD investigated, and the Los Angeles district attorney rolled the Orange County charges into the case.

Pimentel has been behind bars since the charges were filed in January 2013.

— Staff Writer Jill Cowan contributed to this report

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