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Crime & Justice

8 more students allege sexual abuse by Hamilton High music teacher, attorney says

Hamilton High School
Hamilton High School
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A Hamilton High School music magnet teacher accused of sexually assaulting students will have his case before the L.A. Unified Board of Education Tuesday for dismissal proceedings, a district spokesman said Friday.

Vance Miller, 59, has been accused of sexually abusing at least four students from the mid-1990s through 2010, according to court documents and a police report. Miller taught for LAUSD for more than 35 years, and at Hamilton for 17 years. He was removed from his classroom in September 2010, according to LAUSD documents.

Anthony De Marco, an attorney representing victims of the alleged abuse, said eight other students have come forward with stories about Miller.

"It's the same things, going to the local YMCA, kissing in class, massaging, rubbing on the legs and butt," De Marco said. "...It's the same pattern of conduct."

A lawsuit against Miller and the district was filed last April by a former student who is now 31 years old alleging sexual abuse; preliminary paperwork has been filed for a second complaint.

"My two clients are students who didn't have fathers actively in their lives," De Marco said. "Maybe that made them more vulnerable to him."

Miller was known by students to kiss some on the cheek or hug them. The complaint alleges the teacher regularly kissed students on the lips in class, rubbed up against them, took students individually with him to a local gym and showered naked with them.

"If a teacher observes another teacher kissing students on the cheek, that is so inappropriate and it really raises the suspicion of where is he going, and it really raises a mandated reporting problem," De Marco said. "I talked with a bunch of kids who thought it was uncomfortable and perverted. They thought he was a pervert."

Drew Antablin, an attorney representing Miller, said Miller "adamantly denies this, and if the plaintiff wants to press ahead, then the jury will determine whether or not the allegations are or are not true.”

The case goes to trial in August.

Tami Abdollah can be reached via email and on Twitter (@latams).