Ex-Employee Accuses LAUSD of “Corruption, Cronyism” in Sex Abuse Settlements

The lawsuit stems from settlements involving claims of sexual abuse at Miramonte Elementary School

The chief risk manager hired by the Los Angeles Unified School District to help settle a school sexual abuse scandal accused the district's public law office of "corruption and cronyism."

The accusations are part of a lawsuit by former LAUSD chief risk manager Gregg Breed, who claimed he was fired for questioning how the district was handling its settlements regarding sexual abuse claims involving two former teachers at Miramonte Elementary School.

A school district attorney characterized the lawsuit as frivolous and an attempt to grab money.

"These are baseless allegations made by a disgruntled former employee," said Sean Rossall, LAUSD Office of General Counsel. 

LAUSD officials have not received the lawsuit, Rossall said Wednesday morning. The district will determine how to proceed after officials receive and review the lawsuit, he said.

Breed was hired as the LAUSD Chief Risk Officer in 2012 and developed what the civil complaint describes as "an innovative and comprehensive" sex abuse scandal resolution policy for the district. His lawsuit, filed Thursday, claims the district hired attorneys inexperienced in sexual molestation cases, ignored his advice on mediation payments and did not allow cut him out of crucial mediation sessions with Miramonte plaintiffs. 

Breed's contract was not renewed after one year with the district, Rossall said.

"It was clear very early on in his employment that he was ill-equipped for the job," Rossall said. "There was a variety of performance issues as well as some judgment issues."

When asked for specific cases, Rossall said Breed discussed in violation of the law confidential matters that were raised during closed-session board meetings.

Breed's lawsuit claims he suggested an "individualized approach" to the settlements with Miramonte families, but attorneys opted for a flat rate for each claimant, according to the lawsuit. Breed alleges he was excluded from that process and subject to retaliation because attorneys knew he "would object to this non-specific and fiscally irresponsible approach."

In November, a judge approved 61 settlements to families involved in the sexual abuse scandal.

The accusations stem from the investigation involving former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on 23 children age 7 to 10. He pleaded no-contest to the charges in November 2013.

Miramonte teacher Martin Springer also was charged with lewd acts on a child. He is awaiting trial.
The lawsuit seeks $10 million in damages in Superior Court.

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