Los Angeles elementary school teacher arrested for child abuse

Marc Cota-Robles Image
Friday, March 13, 2015
Thelmo Garcia is seen in this undated file photo.
Thelmo Garcia is seen in this undated file photo.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KABC) -- A Los Angeles elementary school teacher has been arrested on allegations of child abuse.

The LAUSD says the abuse allegations against Thelmo Garcia are not sexual in nature.

Parents of students at Rosewood Elementary School received a voicemail on Wednesday night about the arrest.

Elizabeth Soria says she doesn't believe the allegations.

"Sick to my stomach; I know he's a playful, real teacher," Soria said. "He tells it how it is."

Her 10-year-old son was in Garcia's class last year. She said she felt the need to tell him what happened to avoid him hearing rumors at school.

"He starts crying completely. I'm like, 'He's going to be OK,'" she said. "He wiped his tears, and he went to his room."

The 37-year-old teacher was taken into custody Wednesday off-campus, but had been removed from his teaching position at Rosewood earlier last month.

Garcia taught at Rosewood since 2011 and has been employed with the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1999.

District officials wouldn't elaborate on the abuse allegations or clarify if the alleged victim was a student.

"He was willing to do anything to help a kid, anything," Soria said.

Garcia is being held on $100,000 bail.