Former L.A. Unified teacher to stand trial on sex abuse charges

Former George De La Torre Jr. Elementary fourth-grade teacher Robert Pimentel at his arraignment Jan. 24.
(Jeff Gritchen / AP)
<i>This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.</i>

A former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher was ordered to stand trial on 14 charges of sexually assaulting nine students and a relative, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said.

A Los Angeles County Superior Court judge in Long Beach ruled Monday that Robert Pimentel, 57, must stand trial on multiple charges of continuous sexual abuse and molestation, two days after testimony by his alleged victims during his preliminary hearing.

The judge also dismissed two charges against Pimentel. Prosecutors could not immediately explain the circumstances as to why those charges were dropped.


The retired teacher remains in jail in lieu of $14-million bail. His next court hearing is May 28 in Long Beach.

Pimentel, who taught at George De La Torre Elementary School in Wilmington, was arrested Jan. 23 by Los Angeles Police Department detectives following an investigation into allegations that he had inappropriately touched several fourth-grade girls.

Prosecutors say the victims, who are between 8 and 10 years old, were abused multiple times from January 2002 to March 2012.

Earlier reports said the crimes had taken place as far back as September 2011.

Pimentel’s arrest brought more trouble for the nation’s second-largest school district, which was already reeling from allegations of sexual misconduct involving teachers and students.

In January 2012, a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in the Florence-Firestone neighborhood was arrested after being accused of spoon-feeding semen to students in a classroom and taking dozens of photos. Some of those pictures show students blindfolded and being fed allegedly tainted cookies.

An audit released months later concluded that the district failed to promptly report 150 cases of suspected teacher misconduct — including allegations of sexual contact with students — to state authorities as required by law.

District officials said they have addressed those breakdowns highlighted in that audit.

[For the Record, 7:03 a.m. PDT May 15: An earlier version of this post stated that prosecutor said the abuse of children at George De La Torre Elementary School began in January 2012. They said it began in 2002.]


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