Thursday, August 23, 2012

Former Pacoima teacher pleads no contest to molesting 13 students

Former Pacoima teacher pleads no contest to molesting 13 students

Paul Chapel III, a former third-grade teacher at Pacoima's Telfair Elementary, faces 25 years to life in prison, the L.A. County district attorney's office says.

By Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times

August 21, 2012

A former Telfair Elementary teacher pleaded no contest Monday to molesting 13 students at the Pacoima school and faces 25 years to life in prison, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said.

As a preliminary hearing was to begin for Paul Chapel III, he pleaded no contest to 13 counts of lewd acts on a child, said Deputy Dist. Atty. Elena Abramson.

"They were all students at Telfair, aged 8 and 9.... Some of them were students in his class and others he met outside the classroom in breaks or after school," Abramson said. The molestations of seven females and six males occurred from September 2006 to April 2011.

Prosecutors last fall charged Chapel, 51, with molesting four students. Los Angeles Unified school officials waited until February to tell parents about the third-grade teacher's arrest, however, doing so after two teachers at Miramonte Elementary School accused of molestation were arrested and reporters questioned the district about other teachers removed for similar accusations.

The school district fired Chapel in March. In May prosecutors charged him with molesting nine additional students. Some of the victims were in San Fernando Superior Court on Monday, prepared to testify.

Lawsuits filed by two of the victims against the school district say Chapel kissed the children and fondled their genitals.

Court documents alleged that the district ignored repeated complaints about Chapel and allowed him to return to work despite several red flags in his history. He had previously left a private school after allegedly making inappropriate remarks during a sex education class. He was tried but not convicted in a 1997 alleged molestation....,0,7075525.story

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