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July 7
1919 - Mike Shuman, Placerita Junior High School principal, born in Fitchburg, Mass. [story]


Greg Owen

Local attorney Greg Owen is representing nine children allegedly victimized by Mark Berndt, a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School who has been accused of committing lewd acts against his students.

“My belief is there are hundreds who have been victimized,” said Owen, who is representing children ranging from 8 to 15 years old.

Owen explained that Berndt was involved in “family grooming,” getting to know the parents and coming over to family homes for birthday parties and Christmas.

“So, the family would never imagine that this man who’s such a good friend and almost part of their family would be doing something like this to their children,” explained Owen.

Mark Berndt

Included in the evidence Owen has collected against Berndt are photographs of the children, in some cases tied up, being fed cookies covered with semen.  The photographs were sometimes sent home with the children and “the families would sometimes frame that and set it in the living room,” added Owen.

Martin Springer, another Miramonte teacher been accused of abusing students, may also have victimized one of Owen’s clients.

Owen said that he believes many victims are not coming forward because they are illegal immigrants and fear deportation.

“The Sheriff’s committee has come out publicly and stated that they want everyone to come forward and make a complaint and their immigration status will not be injured and they will not deport anybody,” Owen said, emphasizing the importance of any victims coming forward.

When asked about Los Angeles Unified Superintendent John Deasy’s decision to remove all of the Miramonte Elementary School’s teachers, Owen said, “I think it was absolutely the right move.”

Owen added that it was a necessary action by the school district to protect itself from litigation and to protect the children.

“I agree that the families should be sad and upset because the vast majority of those teachers were probably wonderful teachers who have dedicated their lives to a profession where they get paid very little and have a huge responsibility,” Owen conceded.

Owen, of the law firm of Owen, Patterson, and Owen, focuses on personal injury law and has recently been involved in a similar case regarding a 17-year-old special needs student who was victimized by her aid from the Acton school district.

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Tuesday, Jul 7, 2020
Soledad Fire at 68% Containment, Firefighters Monitoring Hot Spots
The fast-spreading brush fire that burned nearly 1,498 acres in Agua Dulce reached 68% containment by Tuesday morning, with firefighters still in the area scouting for potential flare-ups, according to Los Angeles County Fire Department officials.
Monday, Jul 6, 2020
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: 33rd SCV Resident Dies; New Cases Surge in 18-40 Demo
Another resident of the city of Santa Clarita has died due to COVID-19, the city's 26th fatality and the 33rd in the Santa Clarita Valley to date, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.
Monday, Jul 6, 2020
Tuesday SCV Air Quality: Unhealthy for Sensitive People
Air quality will be unhealthy for sensitive groups and individuals in the Santa Clarita Valley on Tuesday, July 7, according to the latest South Coast Air Quality Management District forecast.
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