Schoolhouse Beat

L.A. district agrees to settle sexual abuse lawsuits

The Los Angeles Unified District has agreed to pay nearly $30 million to settle claims by 58 children who say they were victims of former Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt, who has been charged with committing bizarre acts of sex abuse against students. The Los Angeles Daily News reports that the proposed settlement, which must be approved by a judge, amounts to about $470,000 for each plaintiff. Meanwhile, Berndt, 62, is jailed, unable to post a $23 million bail as he awaits a preliminary hearing. He has pleaded not guilty. A total of 191 claims have been filed in the Miramonte case, including 129 filed by children. Of those, 119 participated in mediation and 58 students are covered in the settlement.

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