Los Angeles schools reach $88 million settlement for sex abuse: Report

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Los Angeles School District Reaches $88 Million Settlement in Sex Misconduct Cases

The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to pay $88 million to settle two sexual abuse cases involving now-imprisoned former elementary school teachers of the second largest public school system in the United States, according to local media.

The settlement, finalized during the weekend, will mean the families of 30 children abused at two different elementary schools by teachers Paul Chapel III and Robert Pimental will receive about $3 million apiece, the Los Angeles Times reported on Monday.

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Los Angeles schools reach $88 million settlement for sex abuse: Report
LONG BEACH, CA - JUNE 19, 2014: Sheriff deputies escort former LAUSD teacher Robert Pimentel into the court room where he was sentenced to 12 years in prison for molesting students at George de la Torre Elementary School at Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse on June 19, 2014, in Long Beach, California. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LONG BEACH, CA - JUNE 19, 2014: Victims attorney John Manly speaks to the press after former LAUSD teacher Robert Pimentel was sentenced to 12 years in prison for molesting students at George de la Torre Elementary School at Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse on June 19, 2014, in Long Beach, California. Manly represents 15 young girls who were allegedly molested by Pimentel.He is also fighting LAUSD's policy on secrecy in child abuse cases.He said LAUSD repeatedly failed to protect children from Pimentel. (Photo by Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)
LONG BEACH, CA -- JANUARY 24: LAUSD elementary school teacher Robert Pimentel (L), 57, and his attorney, Richard Knickerbocker (C) attend Pimentel's arraignment on sex abuse charges with Judge James Otto (R) at L.A. County Superior Court January 24, 2013 in Long Beach, California. Pimentel, who taught at George de la Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington, California, is facing 15 charges involving a dozen alleged victims. The charges allege sexual abuse and lewd acts on a child and cover the period from September 2011 to March 2012, according to court records. Authorities said the teacher is suspected of inappropriately touching children under and over their clothing. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen-Pool/Getty Images)
LONG BEACH, CA -- JANUARY 24: LAUSD elementary school teacher Robert Pimentel (L), 57, appears at his arraignment on sex abuse charges with Judge James Otto at L.A. County Superior Court January 24, 2013 in Long Beach, California. Pimentel, who taught at George de la Torre Jr. Elementary School in Wilmington, California, is facing 15 charges involving a dozen alleged victims. The charges allege sexual abuse and lewd acts on a child and cover the period from September 2011 to March 2012, according to court records. Authorities said the teacher is suspected of inappropriately touching children under and over their clothing. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen-Pool/Getty Images)
Former George De La Torre Jr. Elementary fourth grade teacher Robert Pimentel is arraigned at Los Angeles Superior Court in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Pimentel, who worked for nearly four decades in the Los Angeles Unified School District, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually abusing 20 students and one adult, police said. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Jeff Gritchen, Pool)
Former George De La Torre Jr. Elementary fourth grade teacher Robert Pimentel, left, listens to his attorney, Richard Knickerbocker, at his arraignment at Los Angeles Superior Court in Long Beach, Calif., on Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Pimentel, who worked for nearly four decades in the Los Angeles Unified School District, was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of sexually abusing 20 students and one adult, police said. (AP Photo/Los Angeles Newspaper Group, Jeff Gritchen, Pool)
A woman escorts a child into the George De La Torre Jr. Elementary in the Wilmington area of Los Angeles Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013. Robert Pimentel, a fourth-grade teacher who worked for nearly forty years in the Los Angeles Unified School District, has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing 20 students at this school. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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The settlement comes less than two years after the Los Angeles school system agreed to pay nearly $140 million - the largest ever for the district - to families of students sexually abuse by Mark Berndt, an elementary school teacher who took bondage-style photos of some pupils.

"We're glad that we're able to resolve both of these cases so we can avoid potentially painful litigation and put these cases behind us," Gregory McNair, an attorney for the district, said to the Los Angeles Times. "We're turning a corner here because we've resolved the last two very large cases that were involving the district."

A dozen children who are receiving money from the latest settlement were abused by Paul Chapel III, a former teacher at Telfair Avenue Elementary in Pacoima. Chapel, whose case arose after a parent's complaint in 2011, is serving a 25-year sentence after pleading no-contest to molestation charges in 2012, the newspaper said. The abuse reportedly occurred over a decade.

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The Times also reported 18 students who were a part of the same settlement were abused by Robert Pimental, a former teacher at De La Torre Elementary in Wilmington who became the subject of allegations in 2009. Pimental, is serving a 12-year sentence.

Berndt pleaded no contest in 2014 to 23 counts of lewd acts upon a child and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

The district has reformed its training and reporting protocols as well as how it investigates sexual abuse claims as a result of the scandals although attorneys for the victims told the newspaper that not enough has been done to protect children from sexual abuse.

"We feel this is an ongoing problem in L.A. Unified and we hope this amount of money will promote a change of heart and change of attitude when it comes to victims," John Manly, an attorney for the victims, told the Times.

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