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Miramonte abuse case: Lawyers call for policy changes

June 26, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The families of alleged victims of an alleged sexual predator working as a Miramonte Elementary School teacher are demanding policy changes they say are needed to protect children and root out abusive teachers.

Lawyers are representing 65 alleged child victims in the Miramonte sex abuse case. They are demanding the district make a series of policy changes when it comes to dealing with reports of child abuse.

Among their demands: Setting up a child safety office that specifically looks into sexual abuse allegations. They say the Los Angeles Unified School District should also set up an anonymous tip line that handles reports of suspected child abuse.

"It's a safe portal that LAUSD needs to create for everybody who wants to report suspected child abuse, whether it's a parent or a teacher, they need a safe haven to report suspected child abuse," said attorney Brian Claypool.

The lawyers claim the district isn't forthcoming with documentation on what LAUSD's investigation has uncovered in the Miramonte sex abuse cases.

They want to know what the district knows before they'll talk about settling their clients' cases. LAUSD has already settled more than three dozen Miramonte sex abuse cases for $17 million.

What also has them upset is the website LAUSD set up, offering the families a settlement ranging between $500,000 to $1 million paid over several years. The families, according to the website, have until July 5 to accept the district's offer.

"We're trying very hard to make sure that we are making sure that the kids have enough resources for their health and educational needs, but we also have to weigh that with taxpayer resources," said LAUSD Spokesman Sean Rossall.

"That deadline ends before a single deposition is going to be taken in this action. So what does that tell you? That tells you they want to pay these families and make them go away before they have to answer any of the hard questions," said attorney Vince Finaldi.

If a settlement cannot be reached, the lawyers representing the families and victims say they expect to go to trial in the beginning of next year.


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