Teacher accused of abusing 19 students

Last updated 17:43 24/01/2013

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A Los Angeles elementary school teacher accused of sexually abusing 19 students and one adult was arrested Wednesday (NZT Thursday), police said.

Eight counts of continual sexual abuse and seven counts of lewd acts upon a child have been filed against the man for abuse that took place at an elementary school in the Wilmington area, police said.

His bail has been set at US$12 million, and an arraignment date hasn’t been set.

The accused, 57, left his fourth-grade teaching position in March at the onset of the investigation.

When officials learned of the allegations earlier this year they immediately removed him from campus and parents and state credentialing authorities were informed, school district spokesman Daryl Strickland said.

Parents and guardians will be told of the arrest by letter and phone, he said.

The man has worked for the Los Angeles Unified School District since 1974.

There has been a number of high-profile incidences of Los Angeles teachers accused of sexually abusing students.

More than 225 parents and students are involved in various claims for damages against the district after Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt was arrested a year ago and pleaded not guilty to 23 counts of lewd conduct.

Berndt is accused of feeding his students his semen on cookies and photographing them in classroom ‘‘tasting games’’.

In December, a jury ordered the district to pay a boy molested by an elementary school teacher US$6.9 million — among the largest awards in the history of the school system.

The jury found the district liable for the repeated molestation of the 10-year-old student in 2008 and 2009 by teacher Forrest Stobbe at Queen Anne Elementary School in the city’s mid-Wilshire district.

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- AP

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