Attorney Luis Carrillo is suing the school district on behalf of the former students of Robert Pimentel, who is behind bars on accusations of sexually abusing his fourth grade students at George De La Torre Jr. Elementary School.
Carrillo says his investigators have uncovered a confidential memo from a district official proving that the LAUSD knew about allegations of abuse three years before the district removed Pimentel from his classroom.
"The L.A. Unified School District not only were negligent in protecting the kids, they deliberately withheld information from the police department and Child Protective Services to cover up a child predator," Carrillo said at a Tuesday press conference.
The memo, which is dated Oct. 12, 2009, says, "Parents stated that there is a male teacher named (Pimentel) who has been known to touch female students inappropriately. The parents reported that he caresses the girls, gives them candy and photographs them without parent permission."
The LAUSD would not confirm the authenticity of the memo, but said in a statement that a mediator was at the school campus in 2009 to speak with parents who were upset. The district did not say what the parents were upset about.
"Although we must protect the confidentiality promised to parents as part of the 2009 mediation, we can say with certainty that any allegations of misconduct were promptly reported to the appropriate authorities," said a statement by the LAUSD's attorney.
Pimentel, 57, was arrested in January after several parents of five students went to the Los Angeles Police Department with allegations of sexual battery. He was charged with 15 counts of lewd conduct with children and is being held on a $12 million bond.
Carrillo called the LAUSD "incompetent" and said "they are not protecting the kids."