A former North Hollywood teacher assistant, Lino Cabrera, pleaded no contest Friday to sexually abusing students at Oxnard Street Elementary School. He is expected to be sentenced to eight years in state prison and register as a sex offender for life, prosecutors said.
Cabrera, 27, was charged last year with five felony counts of lewd acts on a child under 14 and one count of continued sexual abuse — charges that carry a maximum sentence of 26 years in prison. He was accused of sexually abusing six girls, ages 10 and 11, between September 2016 and May 2019.
The charges were reduced to a felony count of continuous sexual abuse, a felony count of a lewd act upon a child under 14 and four misdemeanor counts of child molestation under Cabrera’s plea agreement, according to the L.A. County district attorney’s office.
Cabrera assisted in the school’s computer lab, prosecutors said. According to Los Angeles Unified School District officials, he worked at the elementary school for almost a decade and was placed on unpaid suspension May 30, when the arrest warrant was filed. State law requires school districts to fire people convicted of sexual abuse and bars them from working in schools.
At least two of the victims plan to pursue a lawsuit against Los Angeles Unified for negligence and “for allowing this man to be around a classroom and around these kids,” said attorney Michael Carrillo, who represents two of the girls.
Earlier this week, the L.A. school board agreed to pay out $25 million to settle lawsuits over alleged sexual misconduct. Some cases were related to well-known incidents of abuse at Telfair and De La Torre elementary schools, for which teachers went to jail, while others never resulted in convictions. The largest of these recent settlements reached about $2 million per student.
“The safety and well-being of our students remains our top priority, and we remain vigilant in protecting our students from those who would do them harm,” L.A. Unified spokeswoman Gayle Pollard-Terry said in an email. “Although we are not at liberty to comment further on legal matters, our thoughts are with the victims, families and school community during this difficult time.”
“I’m happy but I’m not,” one of the victim’s mothers said in a statement through Carrillo. “I’m happy she doesn’t have to go through testifying, but [eight] years isn’t enough for what the girls went through, what my daughter went through.”
Cabrera is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 10.
Times staff writers Alejandra Reyes-Velarde and Howard Blume contributed to this report.