Hamilton High School
Dora Orozco, 20, is a preschool teacher who attended Hamilton High's music magnet program and graduated in 2009. She played cello in the orchestra in her junior and senior years for Vance Miller, who is accused of sexually abusing multiple students from the mid-1990s through 2010.
Orozco believes Miller is innocent. She found out about the allegations via text message Friday and was "completely in shock."
"I never even thought anything like this would be possible, especially coming from him," Orozco said. "He was already really friendly with students. Friendly in a familiar way. If we did well on a piece or were really excited about something we'd cheer, maybe a hug here and there, but it was never him trying to do anything inappropriate."
Miller made students in his class feel like he was "that uncle that would give you that support," Orozco said.
Hamilton Music Academy Magnet website
Vance Miller, 59, taught at Hamilton Music Academy Magnet for 17 years and has taught for LAUSD for more than 35 years since his start as a substitute teacher in 1975.
Denton Preciado, 21, is now a sophomore at Santa Monica College majoring in cello performance. But in 2004 to 2008 he was a student in orchestra taught by Vance Miller, who is facing multiple allegations of sexual abuse.
At the time, Preciado noticed that his music teacher was closer to the male students than the females, but he never gave it much thought.
"I guess with his female students it was just in the classroom, he was very nice and whatnot," Preciado said. "But with the guy students it was more of a one-to-one basis, 'hey, what are you doing this weekend,' 'do you wanna go workout,' 'do you wanna go to the opera?'"
Preciado said he learned of the allegations against Miller after an attorney sent a letter to a group of former students a couple weeks ago asking if any of them had had sexual encounters with the award-winning educator. Students started talking about it via email and in smaller groups with each other.
Aldo Scamardella, a former Hamilton High student, said Friday that he once showered naked with the music teacher who is being sued for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old boy.
However, Scamardella, 21, believes his former teacher, Vance Miller, did nothing wrong.
Miller, the 2010 Southern California Outstanding Music Educator of the Year, was a Hamilton music magnet teacher for 17 years. Recently he was accused of sexually abusing at least four students in the mid-1990s through 2010.
Scamardella played violin in the orchestra from 2005 to 2009 and spent many occasions alone with Miller after class and at the teacher's home, even going to the gym and showering naked with him once. He said the incidents were never sexual and the teacher was "fatherly" to him.
Scamardella learned about allegations against Miller nearly a year ago when Los Angeles Police Department detectives were interviewing students and faculty on campus during the spring of 2011.
Hamilton High from above.
Kevin Cuevas, 21, is a junior at Santa Monica College studying engineering, but during 2005 to 2009 he was an orchestra student playing viola for Vance Miller, the Hamilton High music magnet teacher accused of sexually abusing students from the mid-1990s through 2010.
Cuevas heard of the allegations in the fall of 2010 from other orchestra students who were wondering why their respected and popular music teacher had not come to class. LAUSD had removed Miller from the classroom in September, according to district documents, but parents and students were not informed as to why. Rumors ran rampant.
"It was, 'oh, Mr. Miller, he messed around with a student, or one of the students accused him of something,'" Cuevas said. "It was always vague, and I think that's how it caught fire, everybody just started spreading that."
Hamilton High School
A Hamilton High School music magnet teacher accused of sexually assaulting students will have his case before the L.A. Unified Board of Education Tuesday for dismissal proceedings, a district spokesman said Friday.
Vance Miller, 59, has been accused of sexually abusing at least four students from the mid-1990s through 2010, according to court documents and a police report. Miller taught for LAUSD for more than 35 years, and at Hamilton for 17 years. He was removed from his classroom in September 2010, according to LAUSD documents.
Anthony De Marco, an attorney representing victims of the alleged abuse, said eight other students have come forward with stories about Miller.
"It's the same things, going to the local YMCA, kissing in class, massaging, rubbing on the legs and butt," De Marco said. "...It's the same pattern of conduct."