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LA teacher sex abuse suits move closer to trial

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Los Angeles judge says attorneys can move closer to trial in their child sex abuse lawsuits against school officials, after a former teacher allegedly fed his semen to students.

The Los Angeles Times reports (http://lat.ms/12oqsnl ) Judge Malcolm Mackey lifted a litigation stay Thursday, allowing attorneys to proceed formally with their lawsuits.

Mackey directed all parties to continue mediation, but students' attorney Luis Carrillo says the Los Angeles Unified School District has been too slow and made unrealistic offers.

More than 225 parents and students are involved in various claims for damages against the district.

Former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt faces 23 counts of lewd conduct and has pleaded not guilty.

LAUSD spokesman Sean Rossall says the district is still pursuing a resolution and hopes to avoid a lengthy litigation.

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