LAUSD Uncovers Child Abuse Records | NBC Southern California

Complete coverage of the sexual abuse scandal at a South Los Angeles elementary school

LAUSD Uncovers Child Abuse Records



    Miramonte Elementary School, in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone area, was the site of a sexual abuse scandal.

    The Los Angeles Unified School District now says some of the documents it admitted to shredding actually do exist.

    After NBC4 confronted the school district in May about information released during the deposition of a former employee regarding the shredding of two decades worth of child abuse records in 2008, a spokesman for the district admitted the allegation was true.

    "We felt we didn't have a right to have them," said spokesman Sean Rossall of Cerrell and Associates, an outside public relations firm hired by the Sedgewick Lawfirm to handle media inquiries about the continued child abuse litigation against LAUSD.

    On May 2, Rossall released a statement claiming the district had "checked with LA County officials prior to" destroying the documents, telling NBC4 it was county law enforcement with which the District spoke.

    LAUSD Must Hand Over Miramonte Evidence: Judge

    [LA] LAUSD Must Hand Over Miramonte Evidence: Judge
    A judge has given Los Angeles Unified School District attorneys 24 hours to produce photos they believe to be privileged evidence in the Miramonte child abuse case. During a sworn deposition last week with former chief risk manager for the district, statements made revealed what plaintiffs claim was a malicious attempt to keep evidence out of the case. John Cádiz Klemack reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. Thursday, May 1, 2014.
    (Published Friday, May 2, 2014)

    After NBC4 attempted to verify the claim with the LA County District Attorney's Office and the LA County Sheriff's Department, Rossall re-released the statement in a revised fashion deleting the portion about who the district cleared the shredding with.

    Now it appears some of those Suspected Child Abuse Reports ("SCAR") have been found.

    In a "Motion for Clarification" filed by LAUSD attorneys in court Friday, district officials say they believe the state's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act does not permit it to retain the reports and it is asking the judge to clarify whether the recently discovered documents can be destroyed.

    "The School District has recently concluded an extensive review of warehoused documents not related to this litigation," the filing states. "In the course of that review, a box was found that, although not indicated on its label, was approximately half-full of copies of Reports that had not been destroyed."

    Victims Demand Answers After LAUSD Sex Abuse Records Admission

    [LA] Victims Demand Answers After LAUSD Sex Abuse Records Admission
    Attorneys for victims of the Miramonte sex scandal are calling for a federal investigation amid revelations that the LAUSD destroyed documents detailing at least 2,000 cases of sexual abuse in Los Angeles public schools. John Cádiz Klemack reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 2, 2014.
    (Published Friday, May 2, 2014)

    Rossall maintains the reports are copies of what law enforcement already has. In a statement to NBC4 on Friday he says, "We are acting transparently and bringing this discovery to the court's attention, so the court can make its own assessment about what should happen to the documents in the context of the litigation."

    Attorneys for the Miramonte child abuse plaintiffs say the district is playing games with the court. Brian Claypool who represents 15 alleged victims says he's not surprised, "They have already been sanctioned $6,500 for intentionally hiding and concealing photographs of many of the children being abused."

    Claypool is referring to the sanctions placed by Judge John Sheperd Wiley in June for what he called an "abuse of discovery."

    John Manley, representing additional alleged victims says he doesn't believe the reports were "recently" found, believing rather that the district has known about the existence of the reports for months and "simply hid them."

    Cover-Up Allegations Mount Against LAUSD

    [LA] Cover-Up Allegations Mount Against LAUSD
    A prominent civil rights attorney alleged on Tuesday that the school district cancelled a probe that would have investigated treatment of sex abuse cases in the wake of the Miramonte scandal. John Cádiz Klemack reports from downtown Los Angeles for the NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, May 6, 2014.
    (Published Tuesday, May 6, 2014)

    "These reports identify many child molesters who were LAUSD employees," Manly said. "The District has simply concealed them including those related to Mark Berndt. The victims and the public deserve the truth about LAUSD's cover up of child molesters. We will be addressing this very serious matter with the court next week."

    LAUSD officials would not say how many reports were destroyed in 2008 or how many were found in the latest discovery. NBC4 has asked repeatedly for information about who authorized the shredding of the child abuse reports in 2008 and that question has also been left unanswered. Claypool thinks the district's moves in the ongoing civil cases will not trick a jury, set for trial on Nov. 4.

    "At trial in November, the community will finally see shocking evidence confirming a massive LAUSD cover up at Miramonte," he said.

    NBC4 continues to investigate the LA School District.

    Miramonte Opens Doors with New Rules

    [LA] Miramonte Opens Doors with New Rules
    Two years after sexual allegations plagued Miramonte Elementary School, which involved dozens of children and resulted in a 23-year-prison term for a former teacher, the elementary school is set to open its doors with a new list of rules and how and when parents should be notified of teacher misconduct. John Cádiz Klemack reports for NBC4 News at 6 p.m. from Florence Monday, Aug. 11, 2014.
    (Published Monday, Aug. 11, 2014)

    Multiple requests for public records remain pending within the District's General Counsel office since June 16, including billing statements from the Sedgewick and Andrade law firms representing the LAUSD, with a pricetag believed to be upwards of $6 million for taxpayers over the last two years.

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