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Senator Martha Escutia Seeks Independent Investigation Of Rampant Sex Abuse Of Latino Students In LA Unified School District

LOS ANGELES, Jan. 28, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Former state Senator Martha Escutia, an attorney and child sex abuse survivors advocate, today called for an immediate investigation into what she believes is a pattern of sexual abuse disproportionately perpetrated against young Latino students by teachers and other employees at schools within the Los Angeles Unified School District.  Escutia's comments came after law enforcement officials announced the arrest of former LAUSD teacher Robert Pimentel on charges that he sexually abused at least 20 children at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School in the Wilmington district of Los Angeles.

Attorney Escutia, who along with Newport Beach lawyer John Manly represents more than 30 children abused by teachers at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles, said that "there now appears to be a consistent pattern of mass sexual abuse that has occurred almost exclusively in poor and largely Latino schools run by LAUSD." Escutia said that an investigation is needed "to find out why that is the case." 

In addition to the George De La Torre and Miramonte schools, sexual abuse perpetrated by teachers and other employees at LAUSD schools has reportedly occurred at numerous other campuses in poor, Latino-heavy neighborhoods. These schools include Telfair Elementary in Pacoima, where former third grade teacher Paul Chapel abused numerous children. Chapel was recently sentenced to 25 years in prison for molesting 13 youngsters. 

Escutia said she is extremely concerned that reports of abuse by Latino children and parents are often ignored, and that the undocumented parents of victims are afraid to report abuse out of fear they will be deported. "Poor people, especially the undocumented, are particularly vulnerable to abusers and the failure of institutions such as LAUSD who are supposed to protect their children," said Escutia.  She noted that recent documents disclosed by the Los Angeles Archdiocese of the Catholic Church also evidenced a disproportionate number of sexual crimes committed against Latino children by known predator priests who were moved by the Church into poor Latino communities.

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