The Los Angeles school board recently discussed the possibility of additional payment to victims of two former teachers at Miramonte Elementary School. The current settlement of $169 million, the largest amount L.A. Unified School District has ever paid out for sexual misconduct, still stands, and former teacher, Mark Berndt, will be serving a 25-year sentence in prison for child sexual abuse. The need for discussion arose due to victims receiving unequal amounts of reparations throughout the case. Victims in the first wave of settlements received $470,000 per victim, totaling $30 million, while awards made to other victims later in the trial came out to $1.7 million per child abused. If approved, an additional $70 million could be paid out to fifty-eight first wave victims to make up for the difference. The case, filed in February 2015, demands, “additional monies due…so that the settlement amounts of their Miramonte claims will be equal to the settlement amounts of the later-settled Miramonte claims. The school district has refused to pay those amounts.” Fifty-one of these claims are related to sexual misconduct by former Miramonte school teacher, Mark Berndt, and seven by Martin Springer, another former teacher.
The Miramonte sex abuse scandal is an ongoing legislation that occurred as a result of Mark Berndt and Martin Springer’s arrests due to lewd acts with children. Berndt had been working at Miramonte Elementary School for decades (approx. 32 years), and was charged with committing lewd acts on 23 children, ages 6 to 10, from 2005-2010. Furthermore, the school declined to take any action against him when warning signs began to show. In a report filed in 1993, a 10-year-old girl accused him of trying to fondle her, yet prosecutors neglected to file charges against him due to lack of evidence. School officials did not build a case against him until 2010, when a film processor turned suspicious photographs over to the authorities. The arrests and pending investigations prompted the school district to fire the entire elementary school staff, relocating them to an off-site building to be extensively evaluated, and hire an entirely new staff within a two-day hiatus to complete the school year.
If you feel you are owed more on a settlement for a case that occurred, the lawyers at Hodes Milman are there for you in your time of need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call (949) 640-8222 for a complimentary case evaluation.