Teacher in RHE Police Chase Changes Plea

Kip Arnold, who is accused of molesting a student and leading police on a chase that ended in Rolling Hills Estates, pleads guilty to three felony charges.

A Southeast Middle School teacher who drove over an embankment in Rolling Hills Estates and crashed into a tree when he was chased by police pleaded guilty Monday to felony counts of committing a lewd act on a child and evading an officer.

Sentencing for Kip Richard Arnold, 51, was postponed until Dec. 17.

The charges are related to a sexual relationship Arnold had with a then- 14-year-old girl between June and September 2005. The girl, now an adult, recently notified authorities, according to the District Attorney's Office.

Arnold was charged with three counts of committing a lewd act on a child, two counts of oral copulation of a person under 16 and one count each of sexual penetration by a foreign object and evading an officer. He pleaded guilty to two counts of committing a lewd act on a child and one count of evading an officer.

He had previously pleaded not guilty to all seven felony counts.

Arnold was most recently a physical education teacher at Southeast Middle School in South Gate. Los Angeles Unified School District officials said he worked for the district for eight years, previously teaching at Nimitz Middle School, Gage Middle School and Orchard Academies.

He was under surveillance July 10 by Bell police at his Lakewood home in response to the woman's allegations. According to police, he walked out of his home, saw the officers and told them, "Hey, I know why you're here. I'm going to commit suicide."

Arnold then drove off, leading police on a high-speed chase through Torrance and onto Crenshaw Boulevard in Rolling Hills Estates, where he swerved his pickup truck off the road and soared over an embankment, slamming into the base of a tree, authorities said.

Arnold made his first court appearance in Downey Superior Court July 18, after being discharged from a hospital.

Arnold was placed on unpaid compulsory leave July 16, according to an LAUSD representative. An update on his status was not immediately available Monday.


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