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Former third grade teacher pleads no contest to 13 counts of child molestation

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32449 full

A former teacher at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima has pleaded no contest to molesting 13 students, says the L.A. District Attorney's Office. 

Paul Chapel, 51, entered the pleas to 13 counts of lewd acts upon a child on Monday, just as his preliminary hearing was about to begin in San Fernando Superior Court. involving all 13 victims

The former third grade teacher was initially charged last year with molesting four children, but prosecutors added nine more children to the case in May.

He has remained in custody since March on $3.4 million bail.

Deputy District Attorney Elena Abramson said in a press release that Chapel will be sentenced to 25 years in state prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life when he returns to court Sept. 20 for sentencing. 

Initial charges in March included 13 counts of "continuous sexual abuse against three girls and one boy, all under age 14, between Sept. 13, 2010, and April 15, 2011." 

In May, the charges ballooned to a total of 28 counts. Jane Robison of the District Attorney's Office says Chapel would allegedly "put them on his lap and kiss them on the neck [or] stomach." In some cases, he allegedly touched them inappropriately.

Charges were initially filed in October 2011, after one of the victims told her mother who in turn reported it to school officials.

The molestations reportedly occurred between September 2006 and April 2011. The children were between the ages of eight and nine when the molestations occurred.

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