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County to pay $500,000 in alleged sexual assault of 9-year-old

March 13, 2012 |  4:50 pm

Los Angeles County supervisors approved the payment of $500,000 to settle a lawsuit with the family of a 9-year-old girl who was allegedly sexually assaulted by a 17-year-old county foster youth.

The vote Tuesday was 3 to 1, with Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich voting no and Supervisor Gloria Molina absent.

The girl is the biological daughter of a certified foster parent, according to a county document. The alleged sexual assault occurred on May 30, 2009.

In a document commenting on the lawsuit, county officials wrote that "the certified foster parents allowed children to have unsupervised, unmonitored play behind closed doors resulting in the assault of a 9-year-old girl by a 17-year old boy."

Through a spokesman, Principal Deputy County Counsel Lauren M. Black declined to say if the boy was criminally charged.

The document said all case-related work was in compliance with the policies of the Department of Children and Family Services, which oversees youths and children under county supervision, and there did not appear to be any countywide or other department implications because of the alleged sexual assault.

So far, the county has paid $223,072 in attorneys fees to defend against the suit.


Judge rejects religion expert for ex-JPL worker's lawsuit trial

San Diego student complains of being forced to urinate in bucket

L.A. County supervisors face little opposition to reelection in June

-- Rong-Gong Lin II at the Los Angeles County Hall of Administration


Southern California -- this just in

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Night landings: Light trails from landing planes streak across the sky in this photo by Eric Norris, taken March 8 at the intersection of Lincoln and Sepulveda boulevards near Los Angeles International Airport. 


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San Diego student complains of being forced to urinate in bucket

A tenured teacher at a San Diego high school has been put on paid leave while the district investigates an allegation that she refused to allow a 14-year-old student to leave class to go to the toilet and instead told the girl to urinate in a bucket.

A claim filed by the student's attorney said the Feb. 22 actions of art teacher Gonja Wolf were meant "to humiliate and disgrace" the freshman at Patrick Henry High School.

The student was instructed to go to another room out of view of classmates, urinate in a bucket and then dump the urine in a sink, according to the claim.

After the incident, the student was teased by classmates as news of the event swept through the school, the complaint says. The student "no longer feels safe or comfortable" at the school.

The investigation will guide the administration in deciding what, if any, punishment should be meted out, a district official said Tuesday. The teachers' labor union has been notified of the complaint and investigation.

The claim, filed last week, lists damages in excess of $25,000 for psychological and medical treatment. Also requested is that the district pay for the student to attend a private school for the rest of her high school years.

--Tony Perry in San Diego

Judge rejects religion expert for ex-JPL worker's lawsuit trial

In the trial of a former Jet Propulsion Laboratory employee who claims he was fired for his belief that God had a hand in shaping the universe, a judge will determine what’s dogma and what isn’t, not a religious expert.

David Coppedge, a former systems administration lead on NASA's Cassini mission to Saturn, claims he was unfairly terminated from his JPL job for discussing with colleagues California's initiative to ban gay marriage and for giving them DVDs promoting intelligent design — the theory that life and the existence of the universe are best explained as the result of the influence of God or an intelligent agent.

In Los Angeles County Superior Court on Monday, Coppedge's attorney, William Becker, had asked in pretrial motions to call an expert witness on intelligent design and whether it constitutes religious dogma.

Becker argued that while a former JPL colleague complained that Coppedge harassed her by giving her the DVDs, the discs do not contain any religious dogma -- evidence that Coppedge was a victim of discrimination because “they had already assumed or prejudged what their contents were.”

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L.A. County supervisors face little opposition to reelection in June