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Case Dropped Against Second Miramonte Teacher Accused Of Sexual Abuse
L.A. County prosecutors dropped a sexual abuse case against a Miramonte Elementary School teacher.The trial for former third-grad teacher Martin Springer, 51, began this week, but was dismissed today when prosecutors were told by the victim's family that the 12-year-old girl was too traumatized to testify in court, according to the Los Angeles Times and KTTV. It was difficult for her to testify after the Sept. 2012 preliminary hearing. She claimed Springer had inappropriately touched her leg on many occasions.
The teacher, who's been free on bail, was arrested in Feb. 2012. Springer had pleaded not guilty to three felony counts of committing a lewd act. If he had been convicted, he would have faced 12 years in prison. However, a court official told KNBC that prosecutors have the ability to refile the charges.
His arrest came in the wake of accusations against another teacher Mark Berndt, who police said had conducted lewd acts on a number of students. It included him taking photos of children who were blindfolded and gagged and feeding them cookies with semen on them. Berndt pleaded no contest back in November and is now serving 25 years in prison.
Springer's lawyer, John Tyre, said his client's actions were "blown out of proportion" because of the Berndt case, reported the Times. "This appears to be for lack of a better word (a) witch-hunt,'' Springer's attorney John Tyre told the judge at the September 2012 hearing, according to KTTV.
The L.A. Unified District fired Springer (who had taught at the school for 26 years) from his job and took away his state teaching credential, the Times reported. They had paid a $470,000 settlement to six other children who claimed they were molested by Springer.