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Miramonte

Ricardo Guevara: Meet Miramonte's Original Molester

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Tue, Feb 7, 2012 at 1:05 PM
click to enlarge Miramonte. - LAUSD
  • LAUSD
  • Miramonte.

You can add a third man to the string of accused sex criminals at embattled Miramonte Elementary School in Florence-Firestone.

Actually, he's not accused. He's convicted.

The story of Ricardo Guevara is getting renewed attention this week after the Los Angeles Times and Univision 34 broke his story last Thursday.

According to the Times:

Ricardo Guevara, a teacher's aide, was convicted in 2005 of lewd acts with a child, but only after two earlier reports, including one at another site, were discounted.

Univision 34 says that Guevara was accused of abusing children at L.A. Unified School District campuses three times -- dating back to 1995. The accusations prompted the district to pay $1.6 million to the families of three female victims.

Guevara was moved to Miramonte following the first accusation in 1995, which did not result in charges. According to Univision (translated):

Guevara was hired years later at Miramonte Elementary School. Although LAUSD officials were aware of the charges against Guevara, 1995, not reported to school administrators, according to official statements of an assistant director in 2008.

Then he was accused again, in 2002: A 6-year-old said the aide touched her crotch. But prosecutors deemed there wasn't enough evidence to bring charges. Guevara was transferred to an office job, according to Univision. He soon returned to Miramonte.

Then:

His career as an assistant professor ended Nov. 6, 2003, when a parent at Miramonte Elementary said he saw Guevara put his hand into the pants of a girl in the courtyard of the campus. Then two other girls made similar accusations.

In 2005, a jury convicted Guevara of multiple counts of sexual abuse against minors.

He's serving a 15-year sentence.

But the pattern of accusations, paired with the history of teacher Mark Berndt, who set off the Miramonte scandal when he was arrested and charged with 23 counts of atrocious sex crimes against students last year, makes you wonder about oversight at the school.

Berndt had been accused of inappropriately touching a girl 18 years ago, but charges were not filed.

Following Berndt's arrest last week another Miramonte teacher, Martin Bernard Springer, was arrested on suspicion of committing lewd acts on two of his students.

Anyone see a pattern here? The stellar district, part of a longstanding reform-and-takeover effort on the part of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, sure didn't.

The Band-Aid for now is to replace the entire Miramonte staff. But Superintendent John Deasy said that was as much for the staff's well-being as that of the students.

Good looking out.

[@dennisjromero / djromero@laweekly.com / @LAWeeklyNews]

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