November 23, 2014 Comments Off on Attorney: L.A. schools pay ‘largest’ public settlement for child abuse at $139 million
Attorney: L.A. schools pay ‘largest’ public settlement for child abuse at $139 million
By Michael Martinez, CNN
Fri November 21, 2014
Los Angeles (CNN) — The Los Angeles public school district will pay more than $139.2 million to the families of 81 children allegedly abused by an elementary teacher now serving a prison sentence for lewd conduct, officials said Friday.
John Manly, one of the plaintiffs’ attorney, called the amount “the largest settlement in the history of the United States against a public entity involving child abuse.”
The settlement comes after the district earlier paid $30 million to settle 63 other students’ claims alleging they were victims of sexually lewd acts by Mark Berndt of Miramonte Elementary.
A teacher for 30 years, Berndt is now serving a 25-year prison sentence for putting pupils in bondage, and then photographing them with semen-filled spoons held at their mouths and 3-inch cockroaches crawling across their faces….
Manly contended there were “two perpetrators:” Berndt and “those in successive (school) administrations from 1983 to the present who ignored and in some instances actively concealed what he was doing.”….
Berndt had pleaded no contest to felony lewd acts on 23 children. The scandal led to more than 100 students suing the district, claiming that they, too, were victims….
September 27, 2014 Comments Off on Miramonte: LA school district’s claim it shredded child abuse reports now in question
Miramonte: LA school district’s claim it shredded child abuse reports now in question
Karen Foshay September 25
Questions are being raised about the Los Angeles Unified School District’s claim earlier this year that it shredded 20 years’ worth of suspected child abuse reports in connection with the Miramonte abuse scandal.
In response to a judge’s questions, about 100 current and former members of L.A. Unified’s general counsel’s office said they had no knowledge of the records being destroyed, and district officials have not answered similar questions posed by KPCC.
In April, KPCC was the first to report that LAUSD officials said the suspected child abuse reports, or SCARs, were ordered destroyed in 2008 after the district’s general counsel concluded it was not legally allowed to hold on to them. The records dated back to 1988, according to a district spokesman.
L.A. Unified made its comments about the documents after attorneys representing dozens of children suing the district over the actions of former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt requested that the school district produce all of its suspected child abuse reports.
In November 2013, Berndt pleaded no contest to 23 counts of lewd acts upon a child and was sentenced to 25 years in state prison….