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Miramonte teacher sex lawsuit holds lifted

Former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt is seen in court in this undated file photo.

December 14, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
Lawsuits in the sexual abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School will be allowed to proceed, ruled a Los Angeles judge.

Judge Malcolm Mackey lifted a hold on Thursday, allowing attorneys to go forward formally with their lawsuits filed by dozens of parents.

Those parents allege negligence by the Los Angeles Unified School District, saying the district allowed teacher Mark Berndt to engage in lewd conduct with their children.

Mackey had put a hold on the lawsuits, hoping they could be settled without a trial. But after lawyers of the plaintiffs said that wasn't happening, the hold was lifted.

The district is still seeking an early resolution. However, the students' attorney Luis Carrillo says the LAUSD has been too slow and made unrealistic offers. More than 225 parents and students are involved in various claims against the district.

Berndt, a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School, faces 23 counts of lewd conduct and has pleaded not guilty.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.