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School district failed to investigate sex abuse allegations against Redlands teacher, lawsuit alleges

Los Angeles Times

Four former high school students are suing the Redlands Unified School District, alleging they were sexually harassed and abused by a teacher, but were told to keep quiet when they reported his behavior to school officials. An administrator told one student in 2012 that then Redlands High School math teacher, Kevin Kirkland, would be disciplined as long as she "did not go to the press," according to the lawsuit filed this week in San Bernardino County Superior Court. The suit alleges district officials knew of problems with Kirkland going back to 2006. In 2016, the district tried to dissuade a student from reporting the assault to police, according to the suit. Kirkland, 58, was arrested in April 2016 and subsequently pleaded guilty to molesting four female students from May 2015 to May 2016 and sentenced to two years in prison.

Who is Rick Singer? Newport Beach businessman bribed schools to rig test scores, U.S. says

Los Angeles Times

William "Rick" Singer promised to help high school students get into elite colleges that seemed unattainable given their grades and test scores. He operated out of a $1.5-million Mediterranean-style home in Newport Beach. In federal court in Boston on Tuesday, Singer pleaded guilty to charges of racketeering, money laundering, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to defraud the United States in what authorities said was a scheme that funneled millions of dollars from parents to suborned university officials and coaches through a sham charity and tutoring center. Singer's schemes ranged from bribing university officials and testing administrators to doctoring standardized tests for children whose parents paid him between $15,000 and $75,000 a test, prosecutors said. He used his charity, Key Worldwide Foundation, to launder money from parents and pay off officials and coaches at elite universities, they said.

Chemistry teacher charged in 'catfishing' sex scheme involving 9 high school students

Los Angeles Times

A former high school chemistry teacher from San Jose has been charged in a "catfishing" scam with posing online as a teenage girl to lure young boys into sending him sexually explicit videos and photographs, prosecutors said. Douglas Le, 25, faces multiple charges, including nine counts of sending harmful matter to a minor, possessing matter depicting a minor engaging in or simulating sexual conduct, and annoying or molesting a child, according to the Santa Clara County district attorney's office. The former Gilroy High School teacher is set to be arraigned Monday. "This is a deeply-troubling example of why young people should be extremely wary of strangers that they decide to communicate with online,'' said Deputy Dist. Jaron Shipp in a prepared statement.

Physics teacher at Catholic high school in San Pedro is arrested in child porn case

Los Angeles Times

A physics teacher at a San Pedro Catholic high school was arrested Tuesday on suspicion of possessing child pornography, police said. Daniel O'Connell, 32, was taken into custody during a search of his Rancho Palos Verdes home, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. O'Connell has been a part-time teacher at Mary Star of the Sea High School in San Pedro. Detectives from the LAPD's Internet Crimes Against Children unit began investigating O'Connell after they were tipped off that he was allegedly engaged in inappropriate contact with minors, police said. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, a nonprofit organization, told investigators that O'Connell met the minors on a mathematics tutoring website, according to police.

Uber driver is shot to death while ferrying San Diego State students in Rosarito Beach, Mexico

Los Angeles Times

Two San Diego State University students were passengers when an Uber driver was shot to death in Rosarito Beach last week, Baja state officials said Thursday night. A U.S. high school student was also in the car, the Baja California Attorney General's Office said. The students weren't injured and none was identified. The three passengers were picked up at Papas & Beer, a nightclub favored by San Diego college students, particularly during Spring Break. They were headed south on Federal Highway 1 to Club Marena, an oceanfront resort, when their driver was shot six times at about 11:15 p.m. from a vehicle that pulled up alongside their car, authorities said.