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Miramonte abuse scandal developments: Teacher aide's alleged love letters, and 1 child recants

Grant Slater/KPCC

Miramonte Elementary School scandals get muddier as more is revealed.

There have been two new developments in the Miramonte child abuse scandals, both via the L.A. Times.

First, the Times reports former Miramonte teacher's aide Araceli Luisjuan allegedly wrote three love letters to an 11-year-old boy. The mother told the Times that she made the discovery in June 2009:

"One letter, meant as a short-term farewell note, included a passage that the mother found especially disturbing: 'When I was writing this letter, I was crying. My heart was breaking into pieces," wrote the teacher's aide, who has been identified as Areceli Luisjuan. "Oh! I didn't tell you that I like when you put your arm around my shoulder, and if I told you not to do that it's because I don't want to put you in trouble, but I like it…'"

The distraught mother said the teacher's aide appeared to be in her 50s. Luisjuan was in the process of being relocated to a nearby middle school, hence the parting nature of the letters.

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Martin Bernard Springer is second Miramonte teacher to face charges of lewd acts

Grant Slater/KPCC

Parents of students at Miramonte Elementary School escort they children out of school on February 6, 2012.

Miramonte Elementary School second-grade teacher Martin Bernard Springer will face charges following last week's arrest on suspicion of fondling two girls, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced Tuesday. The charges relate to one of the alleged victims. Springer faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

The girls, approximately 7-years-old at the time of the incidents, were allegedly fondled in the classroom. Like co-worker Mark Berndt who's being held on $23 million after being charged with 23 lewd acts against children, taught his entire career at Miramonte.

In a closed session earlier Tuesday, the LAUSD board unanimously approved the firing Martin Springer, as well as the firing of Hamilton High School music magnet teacher Vance Miller accused of sexual battery against students during the mid-1990s through 2010, as reported by KPCC's Tami Abdollah.

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Miramonte Elementary parents form 'Madres de Miramonte' to confront child abuse scandals

Miramonte Elementary School

Grant Slater/KPCC

Attorney Luis Carillo represents several parents of Miramonte Elementary School students in the cases against the district.

This morning marked the first meeting of the “Madres de Miramonte,” a parents group that has formed to confront twin child abuse scandals at the school. Two of the school's teachers were arrested last week for allegedly committing lewd acts against children.

Disgruntled parents have called for Principal Martin Sandoval to respond to the accusations that have rippled through Miramonte. Morning demonstrators protested on the campus, bringing signs and banners and calling Sandoval purposefully evasive.

After this morning’s protest, former state Sen. Martha Escutia rounded up around 60 parents, mostly mothers, and took them to a neighboring house to plan a demonstration for later in the day, when Superintendent John Deasy will speak to parents at a nearby high school.

At the impromptu gathering, some have voiced their anger over Deasy's change in venue. They say physically relocating the meeting to the recently opened school takes away from the issue at hand, and is an attempt to distract from conversation.

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Martin Springer arrested: Second Miramonte Elementary School teacher arrested for lewd acts

Miramonte Elementary

José Martinez/OnCentral

A second Miramonte Elementary School teacher, Martin Bernard Springer, has been arrested for investigation of sexual misconduct.

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Los Angeles County arrested a second Miramonte Elementary teacher, 49-year-old Martin Bernard Springer, for investigation of sexual misconduct with two girls who were 7-years-old at the time.

L.A. County sheriff's officials confirmed that Springer, an Alhambra resident, was arrested at 10:00 a.m. on Friday. He is being held on $2 million bail. 

This arrest comes less than one week after another Miramonte Elementary School teacher, Mark Berndt, was charged with lewd acts involving 23 children. 

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy said Springer was removed from the Miramonte campus yesterday when he first learned of the allegations. Early next week he will be asking the Board of Education to immediately terminate Springer’s employment.  

Some alarmed parents have pulled their children out of the school, citing safety concerns, AP reports. Deasy said today in a statement that he was "appalled and sickened" at news of the arrest and that LAUSD is working closely with the Miramonte community "to deal with the terrible trauma."

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