3 former El Sereno students accuse teacher of molestation

Attorney Luis Carrillo, who represents Miramonte families, has now filed a separate case alleging molestation at El Sereno Elementary.
(Mark Boster / Los Angeles Times)

Three former students of an El Sereno Elementary School teacher sued the Los Angeles Unified School District on Wednesday, charging that the teacher molested them.

L.A. Unified confirmed that it had moved to fire the teacher, Armando Gonzalez, in 2012 over alleged misconduct. But specific details about the allegations were not immediately available Wednesday night, district spokesman Sean Rossall said.

Gonzalez could not be reached for comment, and Los Angeles police were not able to confirm if an investigation was underway.


The litigation involves three of Gonzalez’s former students; they did not report the alleged wrongdoing until recently. The girls “discovered that the psychological injury, illness and suffering” they subsequently experienced were “caused by the childhood sexual harassment, molestation and abuse,” according to the suit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court.

The district had warning, dating to 2007, of Gonzalez’s unfitness to teach based on episodes of touching, fondling and kissing girls on the lips, the suit charges. The period of abuse recounted in the lawsuit spans 2008 through 2010.

The lawsuit also alleges that there are up to 15 victims, a claim that attorney Luis Carrillo said is based on information provided to one of his clients by a school district employee.

L.A. Unified said it is looking into the matter.

“We take all allegations of misconduct seriously,” Rossall said. “Our top priority is the health and welfare of our students.”

Rossall added that when the district moved to dismiss Gonzalez in 2012, he contested the action. The teacher resigned last week without receiving a settlement, Rossall said.

“We have consistently refused to settle on this and aggressively pursued the dismissal until he resigned,” Rossall said.


Carrillo is one of several attorneys involved in litigation over alleged lewd conduct by former Miramonte Elementary teacher Mark Berndt.

L.A. Unified has settled 63 student claims in connection with that case; 68 are still being litigated, including many of Carrillo’s cases. Parents also have claimed damages related to Miramonte.

Berndt, 62, is awaiting trial. He has pleaded not guilty and remains in custody in lieu of $23-million bail.


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