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SOURCE Manly, Stewart & Finaldi
Victims' Attorneys Discuss Lawsuit Against LAUSD
LOS ANGELES, June 19, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Attorneys for 15 young girls who allege that a former LAUSD teacher sexually abused them spoke out after an L.A. Superior Court Judge sentenced the teacher, Robert Pimentel, to 12 years in prison for sexual abuse.
The attorneys contend that LAUSD's responsibility for the abuse will be proven in civil lawsuits where evidence will prove that LAUSD repeatedly failed to protect young children from Pimentel.
Pimentel was convicted of sexually abusing students at LAUSD's George de la Torre Elementary School in the Wilmington area of Los Angeles and his niece in Newport Beach. It is suspected that Pimentel sexually abused numerous other victims at the school and elsewhere who have not yet come forward.
Victims' attorney John Manly of Manly, Stewart & Finaldi expressed his relief that Pimentel will remain behind bars but noted that it was LAUSD's repeated disregard for the children's safety that allowed Pimentel to abuse students at George de la Torre. Manly said, "The Los Angeles Unified School District will be held accountable in civil lawsuits where juries will hear that LAUSD repeatedly failed to protect young children from Pimentel and will be asked to compensate Pimentel's victims for their suffering."
Victims' attorney Roland Labriola of The Senators (Ret) Firm said, "On behalf of our clients, I want to thank the L.A. District Attorney and the LAPD for their hard work and for their respect for the dignity and privacy of the victims during the criminal proceedings."
Victims' attorneys have already filed two lawsuits against LAUSD on behalf of 15 of Pimentel's victims and their respective parents.
According to documents filed in the criminal and civil cases, a former LAUSD principal was told twice in 2002 and again in 2009 that Pimentel was inappropriately touching young children but the principal failed to report the allegations to law enforcement and allowed Pimentel to continue teaching young children.
Pimentel's conviction comes 15 months after Manly and Senator Martha Escutia (Ret.) called for an independent investigation of LAUSD's failure to prevent sexual abuse at George de la Torre and other schools. LAUSD responded to that call in a January 28, 2013 press release in which it claimed that it had already appointed a "special investigative commission" headed by Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno (Ret.) and civil rights lawyer Connie Rice. However, LAUSD recently admitted that it killed the Moreno-Rice commission in late 2012, almost three months before LAUSD touted it in response to Escutia's call for an investigation.
"The District flat out lied to the families of the victims at George de la Torre and to everyone else about the independent commission," said Manly. "The District's complete lack of transparency and accountability continues to put children at risk on every LAUSD campus," added Manly.
Civil lawsuits filed by the victims of sexual abuse at LAUSD schools have resulted in numerous multi-million dollar verdicts and settlements against LAUSD and there are more than 100 such lawsuits still pending against the District.
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