Los Angeles News
Miramonte abuse case: LAUSD settlement offer expires
LOS ANGELES -- Decision day for families of alleged victims in the Miramonte Elementary School sex abuse case. They had until Friday afternoon to accept or reject a settlement offer from the Los Angeles Unified School District.
The LAUSD's offer to settle about three dozen lawsuits expired 5 p.m. Friday. One of the attorneys involved said only one of his client families accepted the offer.
The LAUSD's settlement Web page showed a countdown clock ticking down the hours, minutes and seconds until the offer expired. It offered about $17 million to settle lawsuits by students and their families who are alleging sexual abuse at Miramonte Elementary School.
"To me it indicates their desperation," said attorney Luis Carrillo, who represents 23 of the families. He thinks the offer was unethical.
"When they put up the Web page, that was a direct communication to our clients because the Web page says 'Contact your attorney to accept the settlement.' In other words, it's like putting pressure, intimidating tactics on our clients to contact us to say 'we want to accept,'" said Carrillo.
LAUSD legal counsel told Eyewitness News Friday: "We put up that website to inform the community. Our sincerest hope is to resolve these cases in the best interests of the children and we're hopeful this is yet another settlement of many. ... We will continue to work on improvements for students safety district wide."
Former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt is accused of 23 counts of lewd acts with children. According to the lawsuits, LAUSD officials knew as early as 1990 that Berndt was involved in sexual misconduct.
The proposed offer would pay each child nearly a half-million dollars. The official website shows how the settlements could be invested to generate income and provide for the children's future needs.
Officials on Friday said: "We really believe the offers are fair and provide for the long-term educational and health needs of the students."
Carrillo had hoped the children would not have to go through the court system, but some families say it needs to be done.
"The parents and the kids will go through the process because they want to see some positive changes come out of this tragedy," said Carrillo.
The cases now move on to court. Carrillo says there are depositions scheduled for later this month. He still hopes the district will make a different offer.
lausd, legal, los angeles news, carlos granda
- Ryann Jones found guilty of second degree murder 28 min ago
- Man charged in Elbow Room fight pleads not guilty
- Judge orders hospital to keep teen on support
- Obama: 2014 can be breakthrough year for US
- Spencer Scarber denied new trial in rape case
- 2-year-old shot in the thigh in Atwater
- Edison High School ROP teacher shot in classroom 20 min ago
- NorCal teen brain-dead after tonsil surgery
- Authorities file charges in Elbow Room fight
- Wheels of Hope awards Valley family a new car
- 3 men die in sauna after drinking at Christmas party
- Serial killer missing after good behavior pass to see mom
- Philippine mayor among 4 killed at Manila airport
- Teen shot on Third St. and Kadota Ave in Atwater
- Police increase presence at Edison High...
26 min ago
- Police search for suspects who shot a...
20 min ago
- Ryann Jones found guilty of second degree...
27 min ago
Most Viewed StoriesMost Viewed Photos