- Miramonte teacher was paid $40,000 to drop dismissal challenge
- Serial killer John Wayne Gacy had accomplices, lawyers say
- West Memphis 3 judge speaks after 18 years
- Wellspring of Compassion- Self-Care for Sensitive People Healing from Trauma
Miramonte teacher was paid $40,000 to drop dismissal challenge
LAUSD says it paid Mark Berndt to settle his challenge because it was blocked from investigating and defending its firing of the Miramonte Elementary teacher accused of sexually abusing students.
By Howard Blume, Angel Jennings and Richard Winton, Los Angeles Times
February 10, 2012
The Los Angeles Unified School District paid Mark Berndt, the teacher at the center of the Miramonte Elementary child abuse scandal, $40,000 to drop the challenge to his dismissal last year.
The payout consisted of four months of back salary plus reimbursement for the cost of health benefits. Berndt was fired by the Board of Education in February 2011 after officials learned that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department was investigating him for alleged lewd acts against students. He was arrested last week.
The firing took Berndt off the district payroll. But he fought to keep his job through an appeal process that lasted until he settled with the school system and resigned in June.
The settlement with Berndt came in the face of a dilemma, said L.A. Unified general counsel David Holmquist. A hearing on the dismissal was pending and the district didn’t have evidence to justify the firing because the Sheriff’s Department investigation was ongoing….
Berndt was charged last week with 23 counts of lewd conduct against children; another teacher, Martin Springer, was charged this week with three counts of lewd conduct. Berndt is alleged to have taken photographs of blindfolded children being spoon-fed his semen. Springer is accused of fondling a girl in his class. The Berndt and Springer cases are believed to be unrelated. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-miramonte-20120210,0,91877.story
Serial killer John Wayne Gacy had accomplices, lawyers say
By James Eng, msnbc.com 2/10/12
Nearly two decades after Chicago serial killer John Wayne Gacy was executed for torturing, raping and murdering 33 men and boys in the 1970s, two lawyers say they’ve unearthed evidence that indicates he didn’t act alone in some of the slayings.
Criminal defense attorneys Robert Stephenson and Steven Becker, who are partners in a Chicago law practice, said they re-examined the circumstances surrounding the disappearances of some of the victims. Their conclusion: the so-called “Killer Clown” had at least three accomplices.
The Chicago Sun-Times and WGN-TV first reported on the lawyers’ claims on Thursday and Friday.
“There is significant evidence out there that suggests that not only did John Wayne Gacy not operate alone, he may not have been involved in some of the murders, and the fact that he was largely a copycat killer,” Stephenson told WGN….
The sheriff said investigators will follow up on the information and, if it proves solid, will try to locate the potential accomplices — two of whom are believed to be still alive. The case has had so many twists and loose ends – seven Gacy victims remain unidentified, for example – that Dart is keeping an open mind….
Gacy, a building contractor who performed as an amateur clown at fundraising events and children’s parties, was tried in Chicago in 1980 and convicted of 33 murders. He was executed in 1994
West Memphis 3 judge speaks after 18 years
Feb 10, 2012 By Janice Broach
MEMPHIS, TN - (WMC-TV) – For 18 years the West Memphis Three appealed their case and every time Judge David Burnett denied those appeals and he refused to speak about the case or the men. outside of the courtroom. “Frankly, everything I did was affirmed by the Arkansas Supreme Court,” Burnett said.
Wellspring of Compassion- Self-Care for Sensitive People Healing from Trauma by Sonia Connolly – Whether you are new to healing or an old hand, whether your trauma is long past or ongoing, this book offers validation, support, and tools for healing. With this guide, uncover your wellspring of compassion, understand your reactions to trauma, rebuild self-trust, and respond to your inner voices with kindness. Reconnect with your body and respect your internal NO and YES. Nourished by compassion, grow into a shape defined by your history and desires, like a tree becoming more intricately itself every year. Sundown Healing Arts ISBN: 9780983903802 2012
Sonia Connolly, LMT helps sensitive trauma survivors regain self-trust and peace through intuitive, compassionate bodywork in Portland, Oregon. Her writing about trauma is inspired by twelve years of client sessions and twenty years of self-observation while healing from abuse.