A former Los Angeles Unified School District teacher accused of molesting students is denying the allegations laid out in a new lawsuit against the school district.
"I would love to say things. All I can tell you is those allegations are not true," Armando Gonzalez told NBC4's John Cádiz Klemack in an exclusive interview on Thursday.
A lawsuit filed against the LAUSD on Wednesday alleges the former El Sereno Elementary School teacher may have sexually abused as many as 15 children.
Sex Abuse Lawsuit: Sept. 19, 2013 LAUSD Statement on Teacher Dismissal
Three former students said their teacher inappropriately touched them and kissed one of the girls on the lips between 2008 and 2010. The lawsuit also claims another student reported abuse in 2007 by the same teacher, but was ignored by the district.
"My belief is one of the kids came forward in 2007, but was ignored," said Carrillo, who also represents families involved in the Miramonte Elementary School sexual abuse lawsuits. "Then, he continued to do his abuse, which is the same pattern as Miramonte."
There might be as many as 15 victims, a number that attorney Luis Carrillo told the Los Angeles Times was based on information provided by the school district to parents. The families contacted his office when the girls were asked to testify at an LAUSD administrative hearing, according to Carrillo.
The three girls ranged in age from 8 to 10 years old at the time of the abuse.
The district was in the process of firing Gonzalez last year, but he officially resigned last week after first protesting the firing, an LAUSD spokesperson said. Gonzalez has not been at the school since mid-2010, according to El Sereno Elementary School Principal Cheryl Morelan.
"In 2012, we began dismissal proceedings against this teacher for alleged misconduct," the district's attorney said in a statement. "Unfortunately, we are required by law to go through a set of potentially lengthy proceedings to make the dismissal final."
LAUSD officials became aware of the allegations in 2010 and removed Gonzalez from the classroom, according to the statement. The Los Angeles Police Department confirmed that Gonzalez was arrested in 2010.
"As soon as we were made aware of the allegations of misconduct against Armando Gonzalez in March 2010, we immediately reported it to law enforcement," the statement issued Thursday morning continued. "Gonzalez has not been in the classroom since. We remained steadfast throughout that process to not settle with this teacher."
The statement went on to criticize state officials for creating a "cumbersome and costly" teacher dismissal process. Gonzalez resigned during the dismissal proceedings on Sept. 11, 2013.
A bill designed to streamline the process was forwarded to California Gov. Jerry Brown earlier this month. The original bill died in committee in July, but a resurrected version passed the Legislature.
The LAUSD statement issued Thursday said the bill does "not provide adquate protection for our students."
The claims come one month after a judge ruled that LAUSD must pay millions in 61 settlements to families involved in a sexual abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School. The district paid $27 million in those cases, but other claims involving Miramonte Elementary School families remain unresolved.
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