Los abogados que representan a 26 estudiantes de la Escuela Elemental Miramonte anunciaron el miércoles, 5 de diciembre, nuevas demandas contra el Distrito Escolar Educativo de Los Ángeles (LAUSD, en inglés) por abuso sexual por parte de profesores y negligencia.
Los denunciantes también están solicitando que LAUSD dé a conocer todos los reportes de abuso de profesores de Miramonte y de otros centros escolares.
“Como se están negando a darnos los documentos que hemos pedido, mis socios y yo decidimos ir a la Corte Superior y allí mismo presentar una demanda solicitándolos”, explicó en entrevista con Efe la Senadora (r) Martha Escutia, socia de The Senators Law Firm, uno de los bufetes demandantes.
Escutia señaló que, aunque es partidaria de un arreglo extrajudicial para evitar los costos económicos y emocionales de un proceso en el tribunal, su firma decidió buscar el apoyo de la corte “para promover la transparencia”.
Según informó, se presentaron cuatro demandas y, de acuerdo con los procesos establecidos, luego de un mes se podrá solicitar la presentación de documentos sobre otros casos de abuso en todo el LAUSD.
“Creemos que hay un gran problema en el distrito escolar: esto no ha ocurrido solamente en Miramonte, está ocurriendo también en otras escuelas y el público está ignorante de ello”, afirmó la senadora.
El escándalo de abuso sexual contra estudiantes de Miramonte, de los cuales el 94 % son hispanos, se conoció luego de que el profesor Mark Berndt, de 61 años, fuera detenido el pasado 30 de enero acusado de tomar fotos de los alumnos, algunos vendados, con cucharas en su boca o con galletas untadas con una sustancia blanca.
Los investigadores encontraron en una papelera de su aula de clases una cuchara plástica similar a las de las fotos y que contenía semen del profesor, quien se encuentra preso bajo una fianza de 23 millones de dólares.
Otro profesor de Miramonte, Martin Springer, de 49 años, también fue acusado de tres cargos de los cuales se declaró no culpable, y está en libertad condicional, tras pagar una fianza de 300.000 dólares y debiendo utilizar un localizador electrónico.
La investigación encontró que Berndt había sido objeto de varias quejas de posible abuso, la primera de ellas en 1990, y se culpó al distrito de no haber actuado diligentemente.
El profesor fue suspendido en febrero de 2011, pero no se informó de la situación a los padres de familia. Luego de los casos de Miramonte se ha presentado cerca de una docena de investigaciones más en el distrito escolar angelino.
Una auditoría al LAUSD solicitada por el senador demócrata Ricardo Lara (D-33) reveló la semana pasada que existen 144 casos de denuncias que fueron reportadas a la Comisión de Credenciales de Maestros de California, al menos un año más tarde de haber sido presentadas.
En la rueda de prensa también estuvo presente John Manly, de la firma de abogados Manly & Stewart, quien destacó la importancia de que se sepa “quiénes son los maestros sobre los cuales se han presentado quejas” y que todavía trabajan en alguna escuela del distrito.
Exhibit In Honor of St. Juan Diego at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. Titled “Our Lady’s Messenger/El Mensajero de la Virgen,” exhibit features newly created works of art by 11 renowned LA artists: Rosa Alvarez, Ofelia Esparza, Margaret Garcia, Lalo Garcia (pictured artwork), Yolanda Gonzalez, Ricardo Ortega, Melly Trochez, Laura Vazquez-Rodriguez, John Nava, Luis Villanueva, and J. Michael Walker. It runs through Jan.1, 2012. For more information, call )213) 680-5200 or go to http://www.olacathedral.org
City of Los Angeles police officers and deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were in opposite corners of a boxing ring earlier this week, squaring off in the name of charity.
The 19th Annual City of Hope “Fight For Life” charity-boxing event in Montebello raised money for the cancer-treatment center devoted to fighting the disease.
LAPD officers and LASD deputies faced off for nine bouts of boxing, including two exhibition matches in which both sides were declared winners.
LAPD officers won five of the seven remaining matches, with the last two matches of the night going to the sheriff deputies. Billed as the “Fight of the Night,” Chris Barrios from the LASD Inmate Reception Center defeated Alex Perez from the LAPD.
LA County Sheriff Lee Baca told EGP that the City of Hope was the big winner of the night, raising around $40,000 for the facility’s fight against cancer.
“The sheriff department and the LAPD fought valiantly,” Baca told EGP. “I think the LAPD won more of the fights but the truth is the City of Hope is the big winner.”
Baca and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck attended the event, presented awards to some of the winners and congratulated the officers after the matches.
According to the City of Hope, the tradition began in 1994 after LASD officers met a young boy in the East Los Angeles area who was diagnosed with cancer. Those deputies tried to help the boy and joined with the LAPD to organize the annual boxing event to continue their commitment to help those with cancer.
For more information about the City of Hope visit www.cityofhope.org.
View more photos from the event: Photos from City of Hope’s Annual “Fight for Life” Event
Jackie Lacey was sworn in on Monday afternoon as the new Los Angeles County District Attorney. She’s both the first woman and the first black American to hold the job. Voters selected her last month over Deputy District Attorney Alan Jackson, who’s a veteran prosecutor. Lacey was Chief Deputy District Attorney and was endorsed by her boss, Steve Cooley.
Officers in the LAPD’s Hollenbeck Division determined Wednesday that a report of a possible dead person inside a car in the 5200 block of Huntington Drive North was correct.
Richard French of the LAPD’s Media Relations Section told CNS that he did not know the gender, age or manner of death, noting the coroner would have to determine if it’s a suspicious or natural death. The body was found about 2:15 p.m., he said.
Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department’s Hollenbeck Division said Monday they are investigating a series of commercial burglaries in Boyle Heights, especially along the Cesar E. Chavez Avenue corridor, over the last week.
Detectives have some leads from a surveillance video from one of the businesses that were hit. Senior lead officers are asking that anyone with information on the burglaries call Detective William Eagleson at (323) 224-0117.
A man described by police as a known gang member in his early 20s was shot to death in Highland Park last Friday by someone armed with a shotgun. The shooting in the 200 block of North Avenue 55, near Figueroa Street, was reported at 12:50 a.m., said Sgt. Lisa Phillips of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Northeast Station. The victim was in an alley when the shooter, who is believed to be a male, walked up, opened fire and fled on foot, Phillips said. The man suffered a neck wound from a single shotgun blast and was pronounced dead at the scene, she said.
Three suspects described as teenage boys brandished at least one gun at elementary school students in Boyle Heights Tuesday afternoon and then ran into a nearby abandoned home, but were gone by the time police arrived, authorities said.
Monica Carazo of the Los Angeles Unified School District said at least one of the trio waved a gun through a fence at students participating in an after-school program at Sheridan Elementary, 416 N. Cornwell St.
The fence separated the students from the suspects and no one was injured.
Carazo said the campus was never put on lockdown — the incident occurred shortly before 4 p.m., after school was out, she noted.
The suspects ran into a nearby unoccupied house, but when school police searched the home, they were gone.
A man in his 50s was shot to death last week in an apparent gang-related shooting in Bell Gardens, authorities said.
The shooting in the 5800 block of Shull Street was reported at 1:34 a.m., according to Los Angeles County sheriff’s Deputy Peter Gomez. The man died at a hospital.
According to the preliminary report, the man was standing in the front yard of the residence when someone approached him on foot, shot him, and then fled in a truck or SUV, the sheriff’s department reported.
Sheriff’s homicide detectives were sent to the scene to assist Bell Gardens police in the shooting investigation. Anyone with more information on the crime was urged to call sheriff’s homicide detectives at (323) 890-5500, or Crime Stoppers, (800) 222-TIPS.
Today, Thursday, December 6
1-4pm—Eastside Eddie Heredia Boxing Club Competition, featuring amateur youth and adult boxing. Boxers must be registered with USA Boxing Federation and arrive at 8am for weigh-ins. The Club is located at 5127 East Olympic Blvd. in East LA, 90022. Admission is free for children under 12, $3 for youth ages 12 to 17, and $5 for adults. For more information call (323) 267-2413.
6-7:30pm—Metro will host a community meeting on the Eastside Transit-Oriented Development to discuss status of Metro-owned sites at: Cesar Chavez & Soto; First & Lorena; Mariachi Plaza and First & Soto. Translation services provided upon request. The meeting will take place at the Boyle Heights Senior Center, located at 2839 E 3rd St., LA 90022. For more information, call (213) 922-1208.
5:30-8pm—Building Healthy Communities: Join Boyle Heights Collaborative discussion about the health of the community, individuals, and families. Location: Mendez Learning Center, 1200 Plaza del Sol, LA 90033. For more information, visit http://www.mycalconnect.org/boyleheights or email firstname.lastname@example.org
5:30-7:30pm—Boyle Heights Air Quality Meeting will focus on the 2010 Clean Communities Plan to help identify air quality issues in their neighborhoods. Location: Salesian High School, 960 South Soto St., LA 90023. RSVP with South Coast Air Quality Management District by calling (909) 396-3109.
7pm—NELAart Short Film Series Presents “Career Day” at the Highland Park Theatre. Career Day was a favorite at several film festivals. A discussion with the filmmakers follows screening. Tickets are $10. Theatre is located at 5604 N. Figueroa St. LA 90042. For more information, go to www.nelaart.org or email email@example.com.
Friday, December 7
7-8pm—41st Annual Children’s Olde Fashioned Christmas at Eagle Rock City Hall: 2035 Colorado Blvd (at Maywood). Features Christmas tree lighting, Eagle Rock High School Youth Choir, P.G. Dance Art, Eagle Rock Dancers and Santa. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. For more information, call (323) 257-2197.
8pm—ELAC’s Award-winning Let’s Dance Company holds seventh Repertoire Dance Concerts today and Dec. 8 in the S2 Recital Hall of ELAC’s Performing and Fine Arts Complex. General admission is $15. For more information or to purchase tickets, call (323) 265-8740.
Saturday, December 8
9am-12:30pm—The Partnership for LA Schools’ monthly Boyle Heights Parent College Program meets. Free childcare and breakfast will be provided. Location: Hollenbeck Middle School, 2510 E. 6th St., LA 90023. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org, (213) 201-2000 X 234.
2-4pm—Bell Gardens Library Hosts the Franklin Haynes Marionettes for a performance of “Frosty’s Magic Hat” puppet show. Includes a children’s art activity. The library is located at 7110 S. Garfield Ave., Bell Gardens, 90201. For more information, call (562) 927-1309.
Sunday, December 9
11am-2pm—9th Annual Lincoln Heights Holiday Parade & Festival kicks off at Lincoln Park Ave. & N. Broadway, travels down N. Broadway and ends at Avenue 24. A festival in the parking lot of Bank of America (2400 N. Broadway) follows, and includes free snow sleigh rides, photos with Santa, letters to Santa, pizza and refreshments. For more information call (213) 485-0763.
2-4pm—Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration at Forest Lawn–Glendale. The free religious event will include music and refreshments in Forest Lawn-Glendale’s beautiful Hall of Crucifixion – Resurrection: 1712 S. Glendale Ave., Glendale 91205. Music and refreshments For more information, call 800-204-3131 or go to www.ForestLawn.com .
Tuesday, Dec. 11
4pm—The Anthony Quinn Library present LA Opera Talks: A Kid’s Introduction to Opera. The interactive program introduces the exciting world of opera to school-age children, teens, and their parents. Admission is free. The library is located at 3965 Cesar E. Chavez Ave., LA 90063. For more information, call (323) 264-7715.
6-8pm—Traditional Las Posadas Celebration at the East LA Library. Experience Las Posadas, a walk with traditional singing that ends in a celebration. Free event. East Los Angeles Library: 4837 E. 3rd St., LA 90022. For more information, call (323) 264-0155 or email email@example.com
8pm—Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebration at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels will be held on the eve of her Feast Day and ends with a midnight Mass at 12 am on 12-12-12. The festivities include Aztec dancers paying homage to the Blessed Mother; a concert by the Young Musicians Foundation Debut Orchestra & the Cathedral Spanish Choir. For more information, call (213) 680-5200.