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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary | The Local Review

Teacher Pleads Guilty to Sex With Runaway Student

May 05, 1999

GRANADA HILLS — A high school English teacher pleaded guilty Tuesday to having sex with an underage, runaway student and was sentenced to six months in jail.

Florine Maria Strimel, 35, had faced nine years in prison on seven felony charges stemming from what authorities have described as a monthlong affair with a 17-year-old boy who was one of her special education students at Granada Hills High School.

In a deal with prosecutors, she pleaded guilty Tuesday to charges of statutory rape and oral copulation with a minor in exchange for the short jail term and a three-year probationary sentence. The remaining five charges were dismissed.

Los Angeles County Deputy Dist. Atty. Tuppence MacIntyre, who prosecuted the case, said she thought the offer was a fair one "given the nature of the relationship between a student and a teacher."

The boy had run away from home to stay with Strimel in March, authorities said. About a week later, Strimel dropped him off at school, where he was questioned by authorities. Strimel was arrested later that week and has remained in custody in lieu of $265,000 bail.

Strimel, who began teaching as a substitute teacher and became a special education English teacher at the high school this school year, was suspended after her arrest.

Officials with the Los Angeles Unified School District said state education codes require that Strimel be dismissed. Strimel is also prohibited from ever teaching at a public school again, a spokeswoman said.

In Superior Court in Pasadena, Judge Teri Schwartz on Tuesday also ordered Strimel to register as a sex offender, undergo a year of sex counseling, stay away from the victim and other minors unless accompanied by a responsible adult, serve 120 hours of community service and pay a $400 fine.

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