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Third-Grade Teacher At Telfair Elementary Jailed On Child Sex Abuse Charges

PACOIMA (CBS) — A former third-grade teacher has been jailed on sexual abuse charges and parents at Telfair Elementary School are demanding to know why they weren't notified sooner.

Paul Chapel, 50, was arrested in October and is being held on a $2.2 million bail at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles.

The Telfair Elementary School teacher been charged with 16 criminal counts including charges of sexual abuse and lewd acts on a child involving three girls and one boy, all under the age of 14, the Daily News reports.

"If they don't take action I will move my daughter from this school," said Cathy Alvirez, as she waited for her daughter outside Friday. "I want policies to be changed."

The crimes in questions were allegedly committed between September 2010 and April 2011, according to the newspaper.

It is unclear if the crimes occurred on the Telfair campus.

The Los Angeles Police Department is not releasing Chapel's mug shot as their investigation in ongoing.

Chapel, of Chatsworth, is on unpaid leave from the Los Angeles Unified School District. His teaching credentials were suspended coinciding with his October arrest, the paper reports.

The principal of Telfair Elementary held a meeting with parents Friday.

"I just feel very upset because we have a right to know what happened here since our kids are here," said parent Erika Villegas.

"They should have let us know what was going on."

A court hearing for Chapel has been scheduled for Feb. 15. If convicted, he faces between 15 years and life in prison.

Chapel's arrest is the fourth sex crimes-related incident involving an LAUSD employee to go public in recent weeks.

Mark Berndt, 61, was arrested on Jan. 30 after hundreds of photos surfaced of Miramonte Elementary School students bound, gagged and blindfolded in his classroom between 2008 and 2010. Some photos showed cockroaches being placed on the students' faces, others are being fed a milky-white substance on a spoon or cookie. The third-grade teacher and 30-year LAUSD veteran faces 23 counts of lewd acts on a child and is being held on $23 million bail.

Fellow Miramonte Elementary teacher Martin Springer, 49, was arrested Feb. 3 on charges of lewd acts on a child. The second-grade teacher has pleaded not guilty to fondling allegations involving a former female student. He is free on $300,000 bond.

Paul Adame, 37, a janitor at Germaine Elementary School in Chatsworth, was arrested Monday after a student's mother said he had inappropriate contact with her son.

LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy says he was unaware of Chapel's arrest until Friday morning and despite the recent arrest of four LAUSD employees, he believes the district does not need to change their hiring practices.

"We screen teachers. Every single teacher is in the state and national data base for fingerprints. I think the thing you have to know that is in order to be tracked of course, you have to have done something that is on your record," Deasy said.

The district is considering adding a psychological profile evaluation to the hiring process.

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