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L.A. Unified officials let abuse allegations slide, lawyers say

March 22, 2013|From the Los Angeles Times

Incidents of alleged child abuse by a Newport Beach teacher at a Wilmington elementary school were known beyond a principal who was removed for failing to report them, a parent and attorneys who represent alleged victims said Thursday.

The attorneys, who have filed claims in connection with the alleged abuse, said at a news conference that two high-ranking Los Angeles Unified School District officials were made aware of concerns about Robert Pimentel at George de la Torre Jr. Elementary School in 2009.

Pimentel, 57, of Newport Beach, is charged with sexual misconduct involving 12 children under the age of 14. Fourteen felony counts involve alleged abuse that occurred between September 2011 and mid-March 2012. Two additional counts date back to years earlier. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in jail in lieu of $12 million bail.

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Shortly after Pimentel's January arrest, L.A. schools Supt. John Deasy said De La Torre principal Irene L. Hinojosa had been aware of allegations against Pimentel in 2002 and 2008. She apparently never reported these allegations, and that was a major factor in her removal, Deasy said.

Both Pimentel and Hinojosa resigned as the district was preparing to fire them last year.

The employees under new scrutiny are Holly Priebe-Diaz, an intervention coordinator, and Linda Del Cueto, who currently oversees instructional programs in the San Fernando Valley. In 2009, Del Cueto was one of eight top regional administrators in L.A. Unified.

Attorneys said both were involved in mediation in 2009 to ease tensions at the school over numerous issues.

...Continue reading "L.A. Unified officials let abuse allegations slide, lawyers say"

This story was reported by Times Staff Writer Howard Blume.

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