Music teacher, 66, admits to sex crimes with girls under 14 dating back to 2009

FRESNO, Calif. -- Two families are feeling relief as a former music teacher confessed to sex crimes with victims under the age of 14.

"I'm really glad that he's admitted to it and that he's going to be put away for a while," said a parent of one of the victims.

Gabriel Argote was a well-known music teacher in both Fresno and western Fresno County. He taught at Mendota High School and gave private lessons in Fresno until his arrest last year.

Investigators are convinced there are more, but that first report put a stop to the crimes.

Argote admitted to six of them Tuesday, lewd acts with two girls under the age of 14.

Police arrested him after a Valentine's Day incident with an 11-year-old last year at a Fresno music store.

We're not identifying the victim's parents to protect their daughter, but they just knew their daughter wasn't his first victim when he was already 66 years old.

"In a lot of these cases, there are so many people who are ashamed of what's happened, even though it's not their fault, that they keep quiet," said a victim's parent.

In fact, after Action News reported about Argote's arrest last year, a second victim said he did it to her too, and he admitted sex crimes dating back to 2009.

A plea deal calls for him to serve an 18-year prison sentence -- about 30 years less than he could've gotten, but enough time for the victims to feel justice is served.

"We spent a lot of time with both families discussing this case and what they wanted to see as a resolution," said prosecutor Deborah Girard. "Both families are satisfied this is the appropriate resolution so their daughters don't have to come to court and testify against him."

"We were very satisfied with the way things turned out," said one victim's parent. "He got enough time that by the time he's out our child will be able to be old enough to be an adult and able to deal with the situation."

A judge will make Argote's punishment official next month. As it stands, he'll be 81 years old by the time he's eligible for parole.
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