Robert Pimentel, 57, a former fourth grade teacher at George de la Torre Jr. Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), was arrested on Wednesday for allegedly committing lewd acts and sexually abusing 20 children and one adult. According to court records, prosecutors have filed 15 charges involving sexual abuse and lewd acts which occurred between September 2011 and March 2012.
In March, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) opened an investigation on Pimentel after several female students told their parents that Pimentel had inappropriately touched them. As LAPD detectives gathered evidence, they found Pimentel allegedly had abused 20 children and that 19 of the children were students at the school. The adult allegedly abused by Pimentel was a co-worker.
After the investigation was opened, district officials removed Pimentel from the district and promptly notified parents and the California Commission on Teacher Credentialing. District officials began preparing an official “notice of termination” letter, which they had planned to present to Pimentel at an April 2012 Board of Education meeting.
Pimentel retired before the district could take action against him and before he could be terminated. LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy told the Los Angeles Times, “Can you go back and fire someone who’s already retired? No, you can’t.”
Pimentel is currently in jail with a $12-million bail. Pimentel had been with the school district since 1974, and because he retired before he was terminated, he will receive his full pension even if he is convicted.