Parents, faculty at Telfair Elementary in Pacoima learn of ex-teacher's arrest last Oct 8th
By Barbara Jones and Christina Villacorte, Staff Writers LA Daily News | http://bit.ly/y6avuO
2/10/2012 :: A former third-grade teacher at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima is in custody on charges that he molested four children, the latest suspect to be named in an unfolding sex-abuse scandal in Los Angeles Unified.
Paul William Chapel, 50, of Chatsworth, has been jailed in lieu of $2.2 million bail since his arrest last Oct. 8.
Although a detective said Thursday that the alleged victims include at least one Telfair student, neither the Los Angeles Police Department nor the Los Angeles Unified School District previously released information about the case until the Daily News made inquiries.
The 16-count criminal complaint includes charges of continuous sexual abuse against three girls and one boy, all under age 14, between Sept. 13, 2010, and April 15, 2011.
Chapel is also charged with a total of nine counts of committing a lewd act upon a child, with the boy and two of the girls identified as victims.
An additional three counts accuse Chapel of committing a forcible lewd act against the third girl named in the complaint. Those incidents took place between Feb. 1 and April 15, 2011, and involved "the use of force, violence, duress, menace and threat of great bodily harm," according to the complaint.
A preliminary hearing for Chapel is scheduled for Feb. 21. He faces 15 years to life in prison if he is tried and convicted.
Detectives refused to provide details of the case, including whether the alleged assaults occurred on or off campus.
A district spokeswoman said Chapel has been placed on unpaid leave, pending the outcome of his criminal case. However, she could not immediately say where or how long Chapel had taught in the district.
State officials said Chapel's teaching credential was suspended last October, coinciding with his arrest.
School board member Nury Martinez, who represents the Pacoima area, did not return phone calls.
Outside of Telfair, parents expressed frustration that they hadn't been told that a teacher had been arrested on sex-abuse charges. Their comments echoed those of parents at Miramonte Elementary School in South L.A., where authorities kept their investigation of a teacher secret for more than a year.
"We were never informed of this. It's a big shock," said Sylvia Hernandez, who has children in third grade and preschool. "We would like to be informed. We'd like to know what's going on with our children in school.
"That's the least we can expect. We send them to school and you expect for them to be taken care of here."
Yesenia Bustos, who has two children at Telfair, was also concerned that parents hadn't been notified of the arrest.
"I didn't know anything about this," Bustos said.
A teacher who asked not to be identified said the faculty also had been kept in the dark about their colleague's arrest.
For the last several weeks, Los Angeles Unified officials have been scrambling to reassure parents at several campuses, where employees have been accused of committing lewd acts against students.
Paul Adame, 37, a janitor at Germain Elementary School in Chatsworth, was arrested Monday on suspicion of committing a lewd act. Authorities said a mother had reported inappropriate contact on campus between Adame and her child.
On Tuesday, the school board voted unanimously to fire Martin Springer, a third-grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary near South L.A., and Vance Miller, an award-winning music teacher at Hamilton High School on the Westside.
Another Miramonte teacher, Mark Berndt, was fired in January 2011. He has been accused of feeding his semen to nearly two dozen youngsters in a bizarre "tasting game."
Berndt and Springer have been charged with committing lewd acts against children. Miller has not been criminally charged, but has been named in two civil lawsuits accusing him of molesting former students who are now adults.
Superintendent John Deasy replaced the entire staff at Miramonte, saying it was necessary to restore the parents' trust. Many parents, however, say the district went overboard in removing the teachers not involved in the sex-abuse case.
Daily News Update: LAUSD board member Nury Martinez meets with parents of Telfair Elementary School students in Pacoima
Angered by revelations that a third-grade teacher had been arrested on child molestation charges, school board member Nury Martinez met today with parents of Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima to discuss why the district had failed to notify them of the accusations.
PDF of Martinez's (undated) letter Emphasis added by Ms. Martinez
UPDATE: 3rd-Grade Teacher from Chatsworth Jailed on Sex-Abuse Counts
A 16-count criminal complaint lists allegations of continuous sexual abuse against three girls and one boy.
by City News Servive from Chatsworth Patch | http://bit.ly/yHcW19
10 Feb 2012 :: 1:39 pm The Los Angeles Unified School District confronted a new set of sexual-abuse allegations Friday, this one involving a Chatsworth man said to have abused four children while working as a third-grade teacher at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima, subjecting one victim to violence and the "threat of great bodily harm."
Paul William Chapel, 50, was arrested on Oct. 8, 2011, and booked on suspicion of molesting children, said Richard French of the Los Angeles Police Department. French declined further comment.
Chapel remains jailed in lieu of $2.2 million bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Inmate Information Center website.
A 16-count criminal complaint against Chapel lists charges of continuous sexual abuse against three girls and one boy, all under 14, between Sept. 13, 2010, and April 15, 2011, the Daily News reported.
He is also charged with a total of nine counts of committing a lewd act upon a child, with the boy and two of the girls identified as victims, according to the newspaper.
An additional three counts accuse Chapel of committing a forcible lewd act against the third girl named in the complaint. Those incidents took place between Feb. 1 and April 15, 2011, and involved "the use of force, violence, duress, menace and threat of great bodily harm," according to the complaint cited by the Daily News.
A detective told the Daily News that the alleged victims include at least one Telfair student, although there was no immediate word on whether the student was abused on campus.
A school district spokeswoman told the newspaper that Chapel has been placed on unpaid leave.
Schools Superintendent John Deasy said Friday morning he had no specific information about Chapel.
"We have 120,000 full-time, part-time and substitute employees ... The overall majority are phenomenal people, but there are individuals, just like in a city of 120,000 people, who do wrong things. They do things on their off hours and then they get into difficulty and if they, you know, if they are crimes they get arrested for it," he told CBS2.
Outside Telfair, parents Thursday expressed frustration at not having been told that a teacher had been arrested on sex-abuse charges, the Daily News reported. Their comments echoed those of parents at Miramonte Elementary School in the unincorporated Florence area, where authorities kept their investigation of a teacher secret for more than a year.
A Telfair teacher who asked not to be identified told the Daily News the faculty also had been kept in the dark about Chapel's arrest.
In recent weeks, the LAUSD has been flooded by a cascade of allegations involving inappropriate acts against children by district employees, including former Miramonte third-grade teachers Mark Berndt, who has been accused of feeding his semen to blindfolded youngsters in a bizarre "tasting game," and Martin Springer.
Springer, who was arrested a week ago, was released at 2 a.m. Friday -- wearing an ankle bracelet -- after posting a $300,000 bond, the Sheriff's Department reported.
Additionally, Paul Adame, 37, a janitor at Germain Elementary School in Chatsworth, was arrested Monday on suspicion of committing a lewd act.
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Board of Education voted to fire not only Springer, but also Vance Miller, an award-winning music teacher at Alexander Hamilton High School on the Westside. He has not been criminally charged but was named in two civil lawsuits accusing him of molesting former students.
L.A. Unified responds to allegations of sex abuse by Pacoima teacher
by Sam Quinones and Rick Rojas, LA Times/LA Now | http://lat.ms/zl3vEk
February 10, 2012 | 5:31 pm :: Los Angeles Unified responded Friday to the revelation that another teacher, this one at a Pacoima elementary school, faces charges of sexual abuse by condemning the allegations and saying the teacher had been removed from the classroom before his arrest.
Paul Chapel, a third-grade teacher at Telfair Elementary School, had been charged with 15 counts of lewd acts and continuous sexual abuse with three girls and one boy, each younger than 14, between Sept. 13, 2010, and April 15, 2011, according to a Sept. 28 complaint from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
The district, in a statement released Friday, said that it learned "complaints against the teacher were lodged in the spring of last year," adding that Chapel was removed in April. The district did not disclose the amount of time that elapsed between learning of the allegations and his removal.
Chapel, 50, was arrested in October, and his teaching credentials were also suspended.
The charges were not publicized and parents at the school weren't informed. The allegations surrounding Chapel were initially reported Thursday by the Los Angeles Daily News.
At the time the allegations were raised, the district said it was instructed by Los Angeles police to not proceed with any internal investigation or release any information about the case.
L.A. Unified said Chapel's former students had been interviewed by investigators.
L.A. school board member Nury Martinez, whose board district includes the Pacoima school, had been meeting with parents on Friday, who she said were understandably angry about the allegations.
"These charges represent the most heinous and unacceptable acts that can be perpetrated against young and vulnerable children that deserve to be protected by the adults that are responsible for their safety and well-being," she said in a statement.
Chapel is listed as a “more effective than average” teacher of mat, and “less effective than average” teacher of English, based on the scores of 114 students between 2004 and 2010, according to the L.A. Times database analyzing teachers’ effectiveness.