Timeline: Miramonte School Scandal

A look at the key events in a child abuse scandal at a South LA school

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Miramonte Elementary School in the Florence area of South Los Angeles

    December 2010: Investigation begins into Florence school teacher Mark Berndt after authorities find dozens of questionable photographs of children, police say.

    February 2011: LAUSD suspends Berndt from his teaching position at Miramonte and notifies him that they intended to fire him.Full Story

    March 2011: Berndt objects to the district's dismissal of him and requests a hearing, which is set for October. Full Story

    June 2011: Berndt and the district reach a settlement agreement; LAUSD pays Berndt $40,000. Full Story

    Jan. 31, 2012: Berndt, 61, is arrested at his Torrance apartment for allegedly committing felony molestation with 23 children ages 6 to 10 years old. Police cite the nearly 40 photographs of Berndt allegedly committing lewd acts on children. He is held on $2.3 million bail. Full Story

    Jan. 31, 2012: Police release mug shot of Berndt (pictured, below).

    Jan. 31, 2012: Parents at the school voice their dissatisfaction with administrators for withholding information for more than a year. Full Story

    Jan. 31, 2012: Neighbors living in Berndt's apartment building, which he owned with his sister, say they were not aware of any wrong doing and some believed Berndt had retired. Full Story

    Feb. 1, 2012: Judge increases Berndt's bail to $23 million, $1 million for each count against him. He also postpones arraignment for Berndt until Feb. 22. Full Story

    Feb. 1, 2012: Police say they seized 350 more photos at Berndt's residence and a Redondo Beach CVS, which is required by law to report suspected child abuse found in pictures.

    Feb. 2, 2012: A former fourth-grade student of Berndt's, Nadine Martinez Rodriguez, says she witnessed some inappropriate conduct but was scared to speak up about it. Watch Video

    Feb. 3, 2012: Martin Springer, 41, also a teacher at Miramonte Elementary, is arrested at his Alhambra home on suspicion of committing lewd acts on children. Watch Video

    Feb. 3, 2012: A lawyer for a mother whose daughter was allegedly abused files a claim in court against a Miramonte Elementary teacher and the school district, claiming a "massive cover-up" allowed the alleged improper conduct to occur. Full Story

    Feb. 3, 2012: Similar to the Berndt case, Springer's neighbors were shocked to find out he had been arrested under such allegations. Full Story

    Feb. 6, 2012: It is learned that a former Miramonte Elementary teacher's aide, Ricardo Guevara, was convicted and sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2005 for committing lewd acts with children. Guevara was convicted for a case from 2003, but had allegedly been committing such acts as far back as 1995. Full Story

    Feb. 6, 2012: Upset parents from all over Southern California protest outside Miramonte Elementary to question how LAUSD handled the abuse claims. The protest occurred just hours before LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy was expected to address them. Full Story

    Feb. 6, 2012: Deasy announces to parents in a closed meeting that Miramonte Elementary will be completely restaffed and social workers will be placed in every classroom. Full Story

    Feb. 7, 2012: Springer is charged with three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child under the age of 14, according to authorities. Full Story

    Feb. 7, 2012: Some parents and students are critical of the district's choice to replace every teacher, protesting the move with signs that read things like, "All teachers are not criminals." Full Story

    Feb. 7, 2012: Some immigrant families with children at Miramonte Elementary are afraid to speak up due to fears regarding their immigration status, but Los Angeles County Sheriff's Sgt. Dan Scott says immigration will not be an issue for those who come forward. Full Story

    Feb. 7, 2012: Parents are upset over a state law that allows public school teachers convicted of felonies to still collect their pensions, which are paid with tax-payer money. Full Story

    Feb. 8, 2012: It is reported by the Los Angeles Times that a Miramonte Elementary fourth-grade student's mother found a love letter in June 2009 that she claimed was from a teacher's aide. Full Story

    Feb. 9, 2012: Miramonte Elementary School reopens with a new staff after a two-day shutdown. Full Story

    Feb. 9, 2012: An exclusive NBC4 report reveals that the LAUSD paid Mark Berndt to resign. Full Story

    Feb. 10, 2012: Martin Springer is released from jail, according to the LA County Sheriff's Department. Full Story

    Feb. 13, 2012: Miramonte staff members start at a new high school after their transfer ordered by the LAUSD. Full Story

    March 27, 2012: Berndt pleads not guilty to charges of committing lewd acts involving more than 20 children. Full Story

    March 28, 2012: Prosecutors say they are still going through "a lot" of photos and working to identify new potential victims. Berndt's attorney asks judge to lower bond from $23 million to $1 million. Request denied.  Full Story

    May 4, 2012: The first in a series of negligence lawsuits in connection with the case is filed against the Los Angeles Unified School District. Full Story

    June 28, 2012: A bill designed to expedite the disciplinary review process for teachers accused of sexual abuse fails to pass Assembly Education Committee. Full Story

    July 10, 2012: Fourteen mothers of Miramonte students file a lawsuit alleging that the school district did not protect their children from accused teacher Mark Berndt. Full Story

    July 13, 2012: The FBI announces that it will not look into allegations of sexual abuse. Full Story

    Aug. 16, 2012: A preliminary hearing for Mark Berndt is delayed, giving prosecutors more time to investigate the case. Full Story

    Nov. 29, 2012: A report from the California State Auditor says the LAUSD was slow to investigate allegations of employee abuse against students and often failed to report them to a state teaching commission. Full Story

    Dec. 5, 2012: Attorneys for Miramonte students announce four new lawsuits filed against the LAUSD over alleged sex abuse as the district said it faces 189 claims resulting from the scandal. Full Story

    Dec. 18, 2012: A former LAUSD student is awarded $23 million in damages for sexual abuse he endured, and the LAUSD was ordered to pay 30 percent, about $6.9 million. Full Story

    Jan. 16, 2013: A judge rules that Springer was no longer required to wear a GPS monitor on his ankle. Full Story

    Feb. 6, 2013: Berndt appears in court and is put on notice he may face more charges. Full Story

    March 12, 2013: Several groups of parents and about half of the students who filed claims against Berndt agree to multi-million-dollar settlement with LAUSD, totaling about $30 million. The civil settlement agreement does not affect the criminal cases against the former teachers. Full Story

    June 5, 2013: A settlement offered from the LAUSD is characterized as "an insult" and "absurd" by attorneys for families of Miramonte students. The settlement equals about $425,000 per student, according to the district. Full Story

    Aug. 14, 2013: A judge approves 61 settlements to families involved in the Miramonte scandal, Two have been paid out. 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. Full Story

    Nov. 15, 2013: Berndt pleads no contest, avoiding a trial at which students would likely testify. He was sentence to 25 years in prison and will receive credit for about two years of time served. Full Story

    Jan. 29, 2014: Former LAUSD chief risk manager Gregg Breed accuses the district of cronyism, alleges the district wasted taxpayer money by paying hundreds of thousands to people who were not victims of abuse. Full Story

    Feb. 5, 2014: The criminal case against Springer is dismissed after an accuser decided not to provide testimony considered "essential" to the case, but prosecutors may re-file charges. Full Story

    Feb. 10, 2014: LAUSD's general counsel David Holmquist responds to Breed's allegations of cronyism and says he believes every settlement was "absolutely the right decision. Full Story

    April 2014: The LAUSD adds a new set of attorneys to the Miramonte case. Full Story

    April 24, 2014: In an exclusive interview, Breed claims LAUSD destroyed key evidence in the Miramonte case by shredding thousands of pages of documented allegations of child abuse collected over a 20-year period. Full Story

    April 30, 2014: An LAUSD spokesman admits the district did in fact destroy documents in 2008 when District lawyers believed a section of the California Penal Code meant they "shouldn't have had them in the first place." Full Story

    May 1, 2014: A judge gives LAUSD attorneys 24 hours to produce photos they believe to be privileged evidence in the Miramonte child abuse case after claims the district had photographic proof of child abuse by Berndt in digital form. Full Story

    May 30, 2014: A judge orders the district to pay a $6,000 pentaly for denying it had photos that show alleged sexual abuse. Full Story

    Aug. 11, 2014: As some 900 students are set to begin another full school year at Miramonte Elementary School, teachers and administrators prepare for a year they say continues progress forward. "In case anyone is wondering, we still have kids here, we still have teachers that want to teach, we still have people that care," Principal Martha Contreras said. Full Story

    Aug. 15, 2014: The LAUSD says some of the documents it admitted to shredding actually do exist. Some of those Suspected Child Abuse Reports ("SCAR") have been found, and district officials say they believe the state's Child Abuse and Neglect Reporting Act does not permit it to retain the reports.

    Sept. 29, 2014: A Los Angeles Superior Court judge compells LAUSD attorneys to turn over a sworn declaration of an employee that could prove the district knew it had copies of child abuse reports, even after it swore it did not. Full Story


    Correction: An earlier version of the timeline erroneously reported Berndt was fired in January 2011. He was actually suspended in February 2011 and notified of his pending termination.