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Briefs

LA district settles claims over teacher’s lewd acts

– The Los Angeles school district will pay about $27.2 million to settle dozens of legal actions stemming from an abuse case in which a former teacher is charged with lewd acts on students over five years, lawyers in the cases said Tuesday.

District officials did not reveal the amount of the settlement, but attorney Raymond Boucher, who represents several Miramonte Elementary School students, said each claimant will receive $470,000.

District General Counsel David Holmquist said the settlement covers 58 of the 191 claims and lawsuits filed by students and parents against the district after the January 2012 arrest of former third-grade teacher Mark Berndt on 23 charges of lewd behavior at Miramonte.

Prosecutors say Berndt played “tasting games” with students in which he fed them his semen on cookies and by spoon, sometimes blindfolding and photographing them. Berndt, who taught for 32 years at the South Los Angeles school, has pleaded not guilty in the criminal case.

Craigslist killer found guilty in Ohio

A self-styled street preacher accused of teaming up with a high school student in a deadly plot to lure men with Craigslist job offers and then rob them was found guilty of aggravated murder and could face the death penalty.

A jury in Akron returned the verdict in the case against Richard Beasley, who was charged with killing two men from Ohio and one from Norfolk, Va.

Officer found guilty in cannibalism case

New York City police officer Gilberto Valle’s lawyers said he was just spinning sick and twisted fantasies for his own pleasure when he chatted online about abducting, roasting and eating women.

A jury, though, decided he was deadly serious.

Valle, 28, was convicted Tuesday of conspiracy in a macabre case that opened a window on a shocking Internet world of cannibalism fetishists.

Judge enters plea in theater shooting

The judge in the deadly Colorado movie theater shooting case entered a not guilty plea on behalf of James Holmes on Tuesday after the former graduate student’s defense team said he was not ready to enter one.

If Holmes is convicted, he could be executed or spend the rest of his life in prison. Judge William Sylvester said Holmes, 25, can change his plea to not guilty by reason of insanity later, if he chooses.

Bodies exhumed in South Africa

Forensic scientists exhumed two graves in search of the bodies of two young men reportedly last seen 24 years ago at the home of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.

The discovery could force a new police investigation into the killings in the late 1980s of people accused of spying for the apartheid government, including ones carried out by the Mandela United Football Club, a group the then wife of Nelson Mandela used as bodyguards and, some charge, to get rid of perceived enemies.

Iran to sue over Oscar winner ‘Argo’

Iran is planning to sue Hollywood over the Oscar-winning “Argo” because of the movie’s allegedly “unrealistic portrayal” of the country, Iranian media reported Tuesday.

Several news outlets, including the pro-reform Shargh daily, said French lawyer Isabelle Coutant-Peyre is in Iran for talks with officials over how and where to file the lawsuit.

She is also the lawyer for notorious Venezuelan-born terrorist Ilich Ramirez Sanchez, known as Carlos the Jackal.

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