A 46-year-old teacher at an elementary school in La Puente pleaded not guilty on Tuesday after being accused of inappropriately touching female students over several years, prosecutors said.
Hurley Elementary teacher Carlos Munguia was charged with five misdemeanor counts of child molestation involving five students, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
The abuse was carried out over the course of nearly three years, from September 2015 until February 2018, officials said.
Munguia was employed as a teacher at the La Puente school at the time of the alleged crimes.
All five victims are younger than 18 years old, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported.
It was unclear if the molestation occurred on campus.
He taught fourth grade at the Hurley Elementary, according to the Tribune. An article the newspaper ran about Munguia in 2014 describes him as a “popular instructor” who had been working at local schools for more than 13 years.
The school has not released a statement on Munguia, but its website no longer includes him in its staff directory.
The 46-year-old is set to return to court in West Covina for a pretrial hearing on June 5.
He could face up to five years in custody and life sex offender registration if convicted as charged, prosecutors said.
The teacher was arrested around 11:30 a.m. April 12 and released by 7:45 p.m. that night on $100,000 bail, inmate records show.
The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department is investigating the case.