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LAUSD responds to El Sereno teacher molestation claims

September 19, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Los Angeles Unified School District says the dismissal process began as soon as allegations were made that an El Sereno Elementary School teacher was molesting students.The LAUSD's comments come in response to a lawsuit filed against the district on behalf of three children allegedly molested by Armando Gonzalez. The suit is also against El Sereno Elementary School and former LAUSD Superintendent Ramon Cortines.

The lawsuit claims that Gonzalez sexually harassed, molested and abused 15 minors from 2007 to 2011. The suit specifically claims that Gonzalez inappropriately touched and fondled girls and kissed them on the lips.

"He kissed one of the little girls on the lips," said Luis Carrillo, the attorney representing the alleged victims. "What is a grown man ... doing kissing a 10-year-old or 12-year-old on the lips? That's totally inappropriate."

The suit also alleges that Cortines and the school district knew that Gonzalez had engaged in unlawful sexually-related conduct with minors in the past but did not disclose this.

"What we have here is another example of the pattern and practice of the L.A. Unified School District of failing to protect kids, covering up abuse of kids, because you will note that this school board, this school district never informed any of the parents at El Sereno Elementary School that there were allegations of sexual abuse on the part of this teacher," said Carrillo.

LAUSD officials say they first learned about the allegations against Gonzalez in 2010 and immediately removed him from the classroom and reported the allegations to police. He remained an employee during the appeals process, which is required by law.

Gonzalez resigned last week after the district refused to settle with him. Los Angeles police told Eyewitness News that they are not investigating Gonzalez. They said they conducted an investigation after arresting him in 2010 for sexual battery and lewd acts with children, but the charges were dropped after the D.A.'s office rejected the case.

The district says it has not yet been formally served with the lawsuit.


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