John Cadiz Klemack
A judge in Los Angeles on Wednesday approved 61 settlements to families involved in the Miramonte Elementary School child sex abuse scandal. Two of the settlements have been paid out, according to an attorney representing the two families. John Cádiz Klemack reports from the school in Florence for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on August 14, 2013.
A judge Wednesday approved 61 settlements to families involved in the Miramonte Elementary School child sex abuse scandal.
Two of those settlements have been paid out, according to an attorney representing the two families. The children will not have access to the funds until they turn 18, but they will have their therapy and medical bills covered through the account holding the money - about $470,000.
The settlements stem from allegations at the school, where multiple students came forward with their parents and said that their teacher, Mark Berndt, and later a second teacher, Martin Springer, inappropriately touched the children.
Berndt was being held on some two dozen charges, including an allegation that he laced cookies with his semen and fed them to children.
The Los Angeles Unified School District has faced strong criticism about student safety since the case against Berndt emerged early last year.
The LAUSD has offered two rounds of settlements, but it said it's slowly losing resources to offer much more.
"As we continue to move through the litigation process, it's going to continue to eat up the resources we have available to settle these cases, and our biggest hope is to ensure the bulk of the money goes to students and not lawyers' fees," said Sean Rossall, a spokesman for the school district on this matter.
An attorney for many of the families said only one of his clients had accepted the district's offer but 22 others had refused because they were not satisfied with the district's actions with regard to student safety nor with the amount of money offered, among other concerns.
"We will wait for the justice of the jury," attorney Luis Carrillo said.
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