So Cal education, LAUSD, the Cal States and the UCs

Some Miramonte sex abuse lawsuits move toward trial

Miramonte lawsuits

Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Attorneys Luis Carrillo (L) and Brian Claypool (R) talking to reporters about their clients' civil lawsuits over alleged lewd acts against Miramonte students

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John Mackey on Thursday ruled that two lawyers could back out of settlement talks with the Los Angeles Unified School district over alleged abuses at Miramonte Elementary. The attorneys said the district's offers after four months were "insignificant."

The first trail has been scheduled for September 23.

The lawyers, representing students and parents who allege they were harmed by former  teacher Mark Berndt, had agreed to suspend litigation last fall. They pulled out of mediation last week and filed a motion with the court to be allowed out of the deal. 

At least 120 other cl;aims releated to Brendt's actions are still in negotiation. David Holmquist, LAUSD's lawyer, said he's been working towards resolving the pending lawsuits and hopes to spare the children the trauma of testifying in court.

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Attorneys for Miramonte kids say LAUSD is not negotiating abuse claims in good faith

Miramonte lawsuits

Vanessa Romo/KPCC

Attorneys Luis Carrillo (L) and Brian Claypool (R) talk to reporters about their clients' civil lawsuits against LAUSD over alleged lewd acts against children committed by teachers.

Lawyers representing 35 students who say they were abused by a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School want to pull out of settlement negotiations with LAUSD.

The attorneys - Luis Carrillo and Brian Claypool - said the school district is not making much of an effort to compensate the children who they said were victimized by Mark Berndt. Berndt is facing 23 criminal charges for feeding some of his students cookies laced with his own body fluids.

“We spent three full days in mediation, as did Mr. Carillo’s group of clients and I think only three offers were made and they were insignificant," Claypool said at a press conference in Pasadena.

LAUSD general counsel David Holmquist said the attorneys' complaints are unfounded.

“We have been working with counsel for all parties involved, including Mr. Claypool and Mr. Carrillo, to develop a reasonable and fair resolution process and reach resolutions that provide for the ongoing educational and health needs of the students," he said in a written statement.

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Teacher accused of fondling student pleads not guilty

Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angel

Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images

Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012.

A former Miramonte Elementary School teacher pleaded not guilty Monday to three felony counts of fondling a student.

Martin Bernard Springer faces three charges of molesting a second grade female student over a f several months in 2009.

The allegations against Springer, a second grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in South Los Angeles, surfaced earlier this year - days after fellow teacher Mark Berndt was arrested and charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on a child.  
 
Springer’s attorney has argued that the veteran teacher is a victim of a witch hunt that followed on the heels of the Berdnt scandal.
 
Initially, two students alleged that Springer had inappropriately touched them in class, but one withdrew her accusation shortly after the teacher's arrest.  
 
The 50-year-old from Alhambra is out on bail. Authorities monitor his movements with a tracking bracelet.
 
He’s scheduled to return to court on January 16th.

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More Miramonte pictures found in photo lab computer

Mark Berndt

L.A. Sheriff's Department

Accused ex-teacher Mark Berndt.

200 more photos of students, allegedly taken by ex-Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt, have been discovered in a CVS pharmacy computer system, the L.A. Times is reporting.

Images were recovered late last week in the South Bay by detectives investigating the lewd acts charges for which the suspect is being held on $23 million bail.

 

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