Feb 14, 2021
A longtime Glendale, California, teacher has been arrested on allegations of molesting students. 52-year old Brett Mohr was taken into custody on February 1, reportedly after Los Angeles Police Department officials received allegations of his inappropriate conduct with students. Subsequent to the arrest, the L.A. County District Attorney’s Office issued multiple felony charges against Mohr. Police stated the alleged incidents occurred while Mohr worked at Glendale Adventist Academy. Mohr began his tenure at the school in 1998.
A spokesperson for the Southern California Conference of Seventh-day Adventists issued a public statement encouraging officials to investigate all allegations.
“Our first priority is always the safety of our students and their families. We will continue to cooperate with law enforcement. Pending confirmation that criminal charges have been filed for sexual misconduct, we are taking action to suspend his teaching certificate immediately,” the statement read.
Mohr is currently being held on $9.2 million bail, and is scheduled for a court hearing on March 17.
If you have additional information about the suspect or alleged incidents, please call the LAPD’s Juvenile Division at 818-374-5415.
As we’ve reported in previous blogs, school sexual abuse is on the rise. Last year, the Washington Post published an article detailing a grim study from the Education Department. The study confirmed that reports of sexual violence in schools rose more than 50% between the 2015-2016 school year and the 2017-2018 school year. That’s an alarming figure, particularly for parents.
School sexual abuse can impact any student of any age or gender. In 2013, a 29-year-old female teacher (also from Glendale Adventist Academy) was sentenced to a year in county jail for allegedly engaging in lewd acts with a male high school student. Valerie Jane Gonzales was also ordered to serve five years of formal probation and register as a sex offender for life. Gonzales pleaded no contest to one felony count of lewd acts upon a child.
Last year, we published a blog detailing a local music teacher who pleaded guilty to one federal charge of production of child pornography and six state counts of lewd or lascivious acts with minors under 14 years of age. John Edward Zeretzke of Ventura had taught for over 30 years at several school districts in Los Angeles and Orange Counties.
In addition to schools, sexual abuse often impacts religious institutions. In August, the head pastor of Abundant Life Ministries in the Hacienda Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles was arrested for sex crimes against children. A a six-month investigation by the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) led to pastor Jonathan Tsai being charged with four counts of Lewd Acts on a Child Under 14 years Old, one count of Oral Copulation of a Person Under 16, and one count of Sexual Penetration of a Person Under 16.
Survivors of sexual abuse have rights under the law, including filing a civil lawsuit to recoup financial damages. Any type of sex crime – rape, incest, abuse, assault, harassment, etc. – can serve as the basis for a California civil suit.
Sex crime survivors need to be aware of the statute of limitations for filing a claim. Under AB 218, the statute of limitations is temporarily removed for survivors of childhood sexual abuse, regardless of how long ago the crime occurred. Between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2022, the statute of limitations on California childhood sex crimes is lifted under what’s known as a three-year “lookbak window.” As DLG’s Samuel Dordulian explains, AB 218’s lookback window can be viewed as a sort of “time machine,” allowing survivors of childhood sexual abuse to go back in time and pursue justice against crimes that would otherwise have been barred by the statute of limitations.
For a limited time, the lookback window allows survivors to resubmit childhood sexual abuse claims for crimes that, prior to the passage of AB 218, would have been ineligible under the statute of limitations. However, beginning in 2023 the lookback window closes, and the standard statute of limitations will resume. For many survivors of childhood sexual abuse who do not file a claim before the lookback window’s expiration, the option to pursue legal recourse against a perpetrator will no longer be available.
Specifically, any survivor who was over 26 prior to AB 218 taking effect on January 1, 2020 is strongly advised to take advantage of the three-year lookback window and file a claim immediately. Under AB 218, the maximum age to file a claim for childhood sexual abuse is 40 (an increase from 26). However, the new extension only applies to survivors under 26 prior to January 1, 2020. Regardless of the age of the survivor or the date the crime occurred, AB 218’s lookback window represents an unprecedented opportunity for survivors of sexual abuse to finally obtain justice after years of silence and struggle. Accordingly, it is strongly recommended that survivors contact an experienced attorney to file a claim as soon as possible and ensure all deadlines are met.
The law also allows for a five-year statute of limitations (increased from the previous three-year deadline) pertaining to the discovery of an adulthood psychological injury stemming from childhood sexual abuse, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). If you discovered a psychological illness after AB 218 took effect on January 1, 2020, you would now have five years to file a claim related to an adulthood psychological injury.
Finally, AB 218 includes a treble damages clause that addresses the epidemic of cover-ups in child sex crimes. In instances where a cover-up occurred, AB 218’s treble damages clause allows the court to rule that the individual or institution responsible for the abuse pay you three times the determined damages (e.g. a $10 million damages award would ultimately amount to $30 million under the treble damages cover-up clause). Dordulian Law Group pursues treble damages awards for all applicable school sexual abuse and child sex crime cases involving cover-ups.
At Dordulian Law Group, we are fierce advocates for survivors of sexual abuse. We have published a comprehensive blog outlining steps parents can take to protect their children from predators. Additionally, we’ve highlighted some signs that may indicate sexual abuse in children, and put together a list of questions that can help when searching for a qualified, dedicated, and experienced sexual abuse attorney. If you have questions regarding a sexual abuse incident or available resources for survivors, please do not hesitate to contact one of the experienced team members at Dordulian Law Group.
What makes Dordulian Law Group the leading sexual abuse firm in Los Angles and throughout California is the four-tiered model of representation and support we provide to every survivor client. Rather than simply offering top-rated legal representation for sexual abuse survivors, we also provide a dedicated team of professionals to ensure all support needs are being addressed.
Our SAJE Team (Sexual Abuse Justice Experts) is made up of:
By choosing Dordulian Law Group, sexual abuse survivors have 24/7 access to our entire team, ensuring they receive not only top-rated and dedicated legal representation, but the critical support that is necessary after such trauma.
To contact a SAJE Team member, please fill out our online free consultation form or call us directly at 818-322-4056. Every survivor of sexual abuse deserves justice, and with more than 20 years of experience, a 98% success rate, and over $100 million recovered for our clients, you can be confident that your case will be handled properly, and we will do everything possible to recover a maximum financial damages award on your behalf.
We are the #1 sexual abuse firm in Los Angeles because of our unwavering dedication to each and every client. Securing justice on your behalf while addressing your well-being and ultimate recovery are our highest priorities. As always, our no fee guarantee means that you never have to worry about upfront costs or out-of-pocket expenses. You pay nothing until we win your case and recover the financial damages you deserve. Contact us today to learn more about why so many survivors consistently choose the DLG advantage.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.