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Author Topic: LA Elem. Teacher Mark Berndt Fired & Chgd with Lewd Acts Against 23 Children  (Read 28018 times)
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MuffyBee
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« Reply #120 on: August 18, 2013, 10:32:29 PM »

http://**/social-affairs/20130814/lausd-begins-30-million-payout-in-miramonte-sex-scandal-claims
LAUSD begins $30 million payout in Miramonte sex-scandal claims
August 14, 2013

Los Angeles Unified has begun funding about $30 million in settlements reached with 63 children who claimed they were molested by two teachers at Miramonte Elementary School, officials said Wednesday.

The school district had been counting on insurance to cover most of the costs, but one of its carriers filed suit in June in an effort to avoid paying the settlement and asked a half dozen other companies to follow suit. As a result, LAUSD will pay the entire amount now with the hope of being reimbursed for some of the total, spokesman Sean Rossall said.

This is the first disbursal of monies for the settlements reached with the families of youngsters who said they were harmed by teachers Mark Berndt or Martin Springer, who each are facing multiple charges of criminal molestation. About 60 additional cases remain unresolved.

“Our biggest focus is to resolve these cases in a way that respects the children’s health and educational needs,” Rossall said. “We’re glad to have resolved and started funding these settlements and hope to resolve the rest.

“Despite reaching fiscal resolution on these cases, we welcome the opportunity to continue ensuring that we’re protecting students and ensuring their safety.”
 
Berndt, 62, of Torrance has pleaded not guilty to charges of committing lewd acts against 23 children. He is accused of blindfolding students at the South Los Angeles campus and leading them in a bizarre “tasting game” in which he fed them spoonfuls of his semen and semen-tainted cookies. He remains jailed in lieu of $23 million bail, pending a preliminary hearing.

Springer, 51, has been ordered to stand trial on charges of committing lewd acts against three Miramonte students. He has pleaded not guilty.
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« Reply #121 on: August 18, 2013, 10:37:57 PM »

http://ktla.com/2013/08/15/former-miramonte-principal-transfered-to-new-school/
Former Miramonte Principal Transfered to New School
August 15, 2013

HARBOR CITY, Calif. (KTLA) — Former Miramonte Elementary School principal Martin Sandoval met with parents Thursday at his new post at President Avenue Elementary.
Sandoval was the principal at Miramonte in 2012 when teacher Mark Berndt was arrested for alleged lewd acts with 23 boys and girls.

For the past year, Sandoval worked as a director at the North East Service Center.

There were concerns from some parents about his handling of the sex scandal.
 

Video at Link
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« Reply #122 on: December 12, 2013, 09:48:38 PM »

http://www.wfaa.com/news/national/231981651.html
Teacher to plead no contest in lewd 'tasting game'
November 14, 2013

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A former Los Angeles elementary school teacher charged with blindfolding students and spoon-feeding them cookies laced with his semen has agreed to plead no contest to all charges, an attorney for some of the victims said Thursday.
Mark Berndt plans to enter the legal equivalent of guilty pleas to 23 charges at a hearing Friday, according to John Manly, an attorney who represents 30 Miramonte Elementary School students and their parents. Manly said he was notified of the plea by prosecutors.
The plea agreement, first reported by the Daily News of Los Angeles, calls for Berndt to be sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Manly called the agreement a victory for his clients and said they are grateful for being treated "with decency and dignity" by prosecutors.
"He's going to jail essentially for the rest of his life," he said of the 62-year-old Berndt. "You can't ask for more than that."
He said prosecutors urged a plea deal because "they were concerned about re-traumatizing the children at trial."
The district attorney's office and Berndt's lawyer declined to comment.
 
According to prosecutors, Berndt used the semen-coated cookies for "tasting games" with students. He was removed from the classroom in January 2011.
Berndt was fired and the Los Angeles Unified School District then paid him $40,000 to drop his appeal, which officials said was the most immediate way to ensure he wouldn't be a threat to other children. The move still brought heavy criticism.
Dozens of lawsuits and claims were filed on behalf of victims. Sean Rossall, a district spokesman, said 63 cases have been settled for a total of $29.5 million, and 71 are pending.
He said the district has not seen the plea agreement and won't comment until it's approved by a judge.
"We're focused on the civil cases and settling them in a manner that is respectful of the health and educational needs of students and their families," he said.
The Miramonte case led to a wide-ranging overhaul of how the nation's second-largest school district handles allegations of sexual abuse after it was revealed that previous complaints about Berndt's behavior were ignored. It also showed how slowly state officials act to censure teachers and led to a flurry of allegations of teacher-student sex abuse in the district and in other school systems.
Shortly after Berndt's arrest, the school district temporarily removed all 76 of the school's teachers, along with staff and administrators, putting them on leave and having them report to an empty high school nearby. Six months later, when the new school year began, 43 of them returned to a restructured Miramonte with a new principal. The rest either retired or went to new schools. None was accused of any wrongdoing.
Manly denounced the district for allowing Berndt to continue teaching after there had been complaints about him in the 1990s.
"For all intents and purposes , this man murdered these children emotionally," he said, noting all of the children are in therapy. He said some have developed severe eating disorders as a result of the abuse with cookies.
Another Miramonte teacher, Martin Springer, is charged with lewd acts on a child in a case involving a second-grader that authorities said was fondled in class in 2009. Springer is awaiting trial.
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« Reply #123 on: May 17, 2016, 07:57:34 AM »

The sexual misconduct at Miramonte Elementary by Mark Berndt was just the tip of the iceberg...  



http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-l.a.-school-abuse-settlements-20160516-snap-story.html
L.A. school district reaches $88-million settlement in sex misconduct cases at two campuses
May 16, 2016

The Los Angeles school district will pay $88 million to settle sexual abuse cases at two elementary schools where complaints about the teachers behavior had surfaced long before their arrest, officials confirmed Monday.

The settlement with 30 children and their families, finalized over the weekend, is the second largest in district history, and brings a dark chapter to an apparent close.

The cases at De La Torre Elementary in Wilmington and Telfair Avenue Elementary in Pacoima, emerged in the aftermath of better-known sexual misconduct at Miramonte Elementary, south of downtown. Altogether, a spate of prosecutions and lawsuits led to huge settlements and spurred the district to announce a raft of reforms at the nation's second-largest school system.

"We’re glad that we’re able to resolve both of these cases so we can avoid potentially painful litigation and put these cases behind us," said Gregory McNair, a senior attorney with L.A. Unified. "We’re turning a corner here because we’ve resolved the last two very large cases that were involving the district."

The abuse scandals prompted the school system to better document and retain allegations against employees.

The district also focused on better training on recognizing and reporting abuse and set up a special investigations unit.

Attorneys representing the students said the change was long overdue and they remain concerned.

Plaintiffs' attorney John Manly likened the district's handling of these cases to the Catholic Church's failure to halt abuse by priests.

“We feel this is an ongoing problem in L.A. Unified and we hope this amount of money will promote a change of heart and change of attitude when it comes to victims," said Manly, who represents many of the students and families.

The De La Torre litigation encompassed 18 children and 19 of their parents (who sued separately). The Telfair settlement involved 12 minors. The agreement provides for a process to distribute the money fairly, but the average payout will be about about $3 million per family, including sums that two of the Telfair students won through a jury verdict last year.

The two schools are at opposite ends of the sprawling school system -- Telfair in the north, De La Torre in the south. And Miramonte was miles from both. All three schools served predominantly low-income communities and involved veteran teachers who had been relatively popular, but whose conduct had raised questions in the past.

Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt attracted the most media attention after his 2012 arrest because of the bizarre forms of abuse into which he lured dozens of students. The payouts eventually totaled $175 million. Berndt is serving a 25-year sentence for committing lewd acts.

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  " Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts."  - Daniel Moynihan
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