The Los Angeles Unified School District is asking a judge to reveal the immigration status of children who were sexually abused by their Miramonte Elementary schoolteacher, Mark Berndt. The request claims that if children seek monetary damages for future earnings losses, their status should be weighed.
In a motion first reported by NBC 4 News Los Angeles and obtained by Colorlines today, LAUSD attorneys outline the argument:
Thus, to the extent the plaintiffs in this lawsuit seek loss of earnings or lost wages, their immigration status is directly relevant to the determination of their potential for future earning capacity and, thus, is relevant to the determination of damages.
As Colorlines has reported, immigration status has been a central theme in this case–with parents expressing deportation concerns. Then-Sheriff Lee Baca issued a letter to parents in 2012 assuring them that there wouldn’t be questions about status.
Berndt was originally investigated by the district in December 2010–but it didn’t suspend the teacher until the following February. He wasn’t arrested until January 2012. Parents and guardians weren’t told about the initial investigation and didn’t hear about it until about a year later. Berndt pleaded no contest in 2013 to molesting 23 children and is serving 25 years.