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01/29/2013 05:58 pm ET Updated Jan 29, 2013

Martha Escutia Calls For Investigation Into Sex Abuse In Latino Schools (VIDEO)

A former California state senator has called for an investigation into the possibility that sex abusers were intentionally assigned or moved to the poorest, mostly Latino, schools in Los Angeles.

Former California Democratic State Senator Martha Escutia, an attorney and child sex abuse survivors advocate, said there seems to be a pattern of "alleged rampant sex abuse" of Latino students in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), PR Newswire reports.

She noted that recent documents disclosed by the Los Angeles Archdiocese of the Catholic Church also revealed that predator priests were moved into poor Latino communities and Latino children were disproportionately targeted.
Escutia believes that Latinos are easy targets, saying that undocumented parents of victims are afraid to report abuse and that some Latino parents are ignored.

In February of 2012, two teachers were arrested for alleged sex abuse against students at Miramonte Elementary School in Florence. Then, a teacher was arrested at Telfair Elementary School in Pacoima last year. And just last week, a Wilmington teacher was arrested for alleged abuse against his students.

And almost all of the victims were Latino. Then again, 73.4 percent of LAUSD students are Latino, NBC reports. Still, Escutia says the abuse victims are disproportionately Latino.

In response, the district has said it would never intentionally put a child in danger. "We are consistently working to strengthen student safety, including implementing numerous policy changes and supporting meaningful statewide legislative reforms," LAUSD attorney David Holmquist said to the Daily News.

He said LAUSD is working with state Sen. Alex Padilla, a San Fernando Valley Democrat, on a bill that would hasten the process of firing teachers accused of serious misconduct. He also cited a new policy mandating that parents be notified within 72 hours of any misconduct allegations at their child's school.

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