A lawsuit has been filed against the Los Angeles Unified School District and a former after-school coach on behalf of eight minor girls who allege he sexually molested them.
Citing former LAUSD teachers Mark Berndt, Paul Chapel III and Robert Pimentel, who were all sentenced to state prison in molestation cases, the lawsuit alleges the district has a “long-standing custom and practice espoused … to harbor and protect suspected child predators at the expense of the safety and welfare of the children.”
An LAUSD representative said she did not have any immediate comment on the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which alleges negligence, sexual harassment and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
In addition to the school district, the named defendants are the ex-coach, Ronnie Lee Roman, who is facing criminal charges, from alleged incidents at both Cahuenga and Vine Street elementary schools.
In addition to the eight unnamed minors, three adult women identified as mothers of some of the girls are named as plaintiffs. They are seeking unidentified damages.
Roman worked as a Youth Services coach for Beyond the Bell, an after-school program offered in some LAUSD elementary and middle schools, according to the complaint, which alleges the school district “intentionally ignored multiple complaints regarding Roman that allowed Roman to abuse children for several years.”
Roman, 43, of San Fernando was charged in May 2015 with nine felony counts involving two young girls between August 2001 and July 2002 while he was working at Vine Street School in Hollywood, and seven girls between January 2012 and September 2014 while he worked at Cahuenga School in Los Angeles
The girls were between 7 and 11 at the time of the alleged crimes, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. His next court date is Jan. 4.
–City News Service
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