Court dismisses case against former Miramonte teacher

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The criminal case against a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles who was charged with inappropriately touching a female student has been dismissed by the court after the prosecution's key witness said she would not testify.

The case against Martin Springer involved only one alleged victim, who was 9 or 10 at the time the abuse occurred. Prosecutors considered testimony from the girl, now 12, to be essential to the case, and without it they decided they could not proceed, said Alison Meyers, an L.A. County deputy district attorney in the sex crimes division.

"She felt very traumatized by the process and as the days approached to the trial she had expressed to us that she felt coming to court would cause her further trauma," Meyers said.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Springer's lawyer, John Tyre, said innocent behavior had been "blown out of proportion" because of a case against Mark Berndt, another Miramonte teacher who was sentenced to prison last year for lewd acts on children that he reportedly referred to as "tasting games."

Meyers said that prosecutors have reserved the right to refile the case should the victim decide she would like to go forward. Under the statute of limitations, she will have until she is 28 to do so.

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