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LA Unified starts paying out settlements to alleged Miramonte victims

Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012.
Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles, California February 6, 2012.
Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Unified School District announced Wednesday morning that two alleged victims of sexual abuse at Miramonte Elementary School have received the money promised in settlement offers. 

They're among 61 students who reached settlements with the district in March for alleged abuse at the hands of former third grade teacher Mark Berndt. The settlements averaged about $500,000 apiece.

Each settlement must be approved by the judge overseeing the lawsuits. These two had already received judicial approval; the remaining 59 will be presented to a judge today, with the expectation that he will sign off on them, according to L.A. Unified spokesman Sean Rossall.  

“We are grateful to the court for moving the settlements along and making a determination that is consistent with what all settling parties concluded—that the settlements are fair and provide for the current and future needs of the children,” David Holmquist, general counsel for the district, said in a statement.  

The alleged victims were students at Miramonte Elementary School between 2005 and 2010.

Bernt has been criminally charged with 23 counts of lewd acts against children. Police say he fed students his bodily fluids on cookies and spoons in what he called a tasting game.

A second group of offers was made in June to 35 more alleged victims for slightly less than $500,000 each. Only two accepted. 

About 30 alleged victims have still not received settlement offers from the district.