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SOURCE Manly, Stewart & Finaldi
LOS ANGELES, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Lawyers representing dozens of victims that were allegedly sexually abused by a convicted pedophile teacher while attending Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles have issued a scathing rebuttal to a statement issued to journalists late last Friday on behalf of the Los Angeles Unified School District's General Counsel defending LAUSD's 2008 decision to destroy state-mandated child abuse reports.
A spokesperson for LAUSD lawyers said the shredded documents were "duplicates" of "confidential" child abuse reports made by teachers and other staff to law enforcement agencies that the District was not legally entitled to possess.
Victims' attorney John Manly said, "The legal and factual explanations and justifications for the destruction of child abuse reports provided by the LAUSD General Counsel do not stand up to scrutiny. The true story behind the shredding of child abuse reports at LAUSD may never be known, at least not so long as the District hides behind a veil of secrecy."
Manly also provided a detailed analysis of the District's statement which concludes that California child abuse reporting laws allow rather than prevent the District's collection of abuse reports made by its employees and the District's reliance on state reporting statutes to justify the shredding of the files was inappropriate.
Manly's analysis also demonstrates that teachers were told they could voluntarily waive confidentiality protections and submit copies of abuse reports to the District as late as 2011, contrary to the General Counsel's claim that policy changes were implemented in 2008 which resulted in the reports being destroyed. "The fact is that the District's version of events surrounding the document shredding is not supported by its own historical record and written protocols on child abuse reporting," said Manly.
Manly said that documents and deposition testimony obtained in the ongoing Miramonte civil litigation is "inconsistent with LAUSD's version of the document destruction episode," but that the District's lawyers have fought aggressively in court to keep that evidence secret. He noted that LAUSD General Counsel, David Holmquist, is fighting attempts by victims' lawyers to take his deposition concerning document destruction and other issues.
"It is fundamentally unfair to victims, the press and the public for the General Counsel to refuse to answer questions under oath about his office's destruction of critical evidence, while simultaneously issuing misleading and unsupported and even false statements to the press about precisely the same issue," observed Manly, who said he would continue to fight for the public disclosure of evidence from the Miramonte case.
Legal analysis documents are available upon request.
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