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L.A. Unified to pay $320,000 settlement in teacher misconduct case

The Los Angeles Unified School District has agreed to pay $320,000 to the family of a girl who was the victim of misconduct by a teacher when she attended Portola Middle School in Tarzana.

The district agreed to the settlement this year; it was announced after the conclusion of court proceedings, said attorney Paul Mones, who was co-counsel for the victim.

The case was one of several that came to light after the high-profile arrest of a teacher at Miramonte Elementary, southeast of downtown, for sexual misconduct involving dozens of students.

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Arrests at a handful of other schools followed as victims came forward and administrators reviewed records.

The Portola case involved popular history teacher Jason Leon, who was arrested in February 2013 on suspicion of having inappropriate conduct with three students.

The alleged abuse involved two 13-year-olds in June 2012 and one 14-year-old in June 2010.

Attorneys who made the announcement included a statement from their client who, they said, wanted to reach out to other potential victims.

“I hope my coming forward will protect other children,” the girl said. “My goal from the beginning of this fight was to create a higher level of awareness about the sexual abuse of students by their teachers and to let children and teenagers know that they do not have to be afraid to report their abuser to the authorities.”

According to court documents, Leon attempted to initiate sexual contact with the girl in June 2012.

“I am very proud of our client who had the strength and will to come forward,” said Mones.

He pleaded guilty to one count each of misdemeanor battery, child abuse causing mental suffering and luring a minor younger than 14, according to the Los Angeles city attorney’s office.

As part of the plea deal, Leon agreed to forfeit his teaching credential, enter alcohol treatment, spend 60 days on a Caltrans road crew and have no unsupervised contact with minor girls during five years of probation.

howard.blume@latimes.com

Twitter: @howardblume 

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Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times

UPDATE:

7:07 pm: This post was updated to include the name of the attorney handling the case for the victim and identify him as a source of information about the court proceedings. 

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