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Officials examining 1980s case alleging abuse by Miramonte teacher

February 10, 2012 |  8:20 am

As officials continue to probe allegations of abuse by teachers at Miramonte Elementary School, they are also looking into a separate case at the school that dates to the 1980s.

Sources familiar with the investigation stressed that the case is not related to the arrests last week of  two Miramonte teachers charged with  lewd acts against  students. Officials are looking at the old incident to get a better understanding of the culture and history of complaints at the school.

The 1980s case involved allegations against a teacher who no longer works at Miramonte. The case was investigated by law enforcement at the time, but no criminal charges were filed. The statute of limitations on the case has already run out, but detectives would like to learn more about what happened, according to the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case is ongoing.

Also on Thursday, Sheriff's Department officials expressed concern that their investigation could be compromised by the statements of attorneys representing alleged victims.

William McSweeney, the department's chief of detectives, said any attorneys -- or anyone else -- with information about the cases should talk to his detectives rather than hold news conferences.

"Why are these lawyers holding media news conference instead of presenting any evidence they have to investigators?" McSweeney said. "Who is that helping?"

"The lawyers are making it that much more difficult," McSweeney said.

He said such statements will make it likely that defense lawyers seeking to cast doubt on testimony in the case will cite the potential for families to benefit financially. "It is going to raise issues of credibility," McSweeney said.

There have been reports for days that a third Miramonte teacher was under investigation and that another arrest was pending. But sheriff's officials denied this.

Sgt. Dan Scott said the Miramonte investigation was continuing but that no other teachers are under suspicion at this time. An attorney representing the family of one of the alleged child victims has suggested that a third teacher might be involved in the case.

But Scott said that teacher is not a suspect. Detectives have interviewed that teacher and said they have no plans to arrest her.


Parents struggle to regain trust in system

Troubled Miramonte reopens with new staff

New Miramonte principal wants to help school return to normalcy

-- Richard Winton and Howard Blume