LA County Teacher Accused of Abusing Students

Booking Photo

A Los Angeles county teacher has been arrested and charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct with a child. Mark Berndt, 61, is accused of blindfolding and gagging at least 23 children, then allowing Madagascar cockroaches to crawl over them while he fed them his semen from a spoon. He convinced his students that this was part of a game.

Investigators recovered photos from the film processing store and Mark Berndt’s home that allegedly showed the students bound and blindfolded and some with large Madagascar cockroaches crawling on them inside the school setting, Scott said. Scott said girls were allegedly photographed with a blue spoon holding a white substance near their mouths. Investigators said they believe that substance was Berndt’s semen and that he had the girls consume it.

Investigators said they have recovered more than 400 images, and so far 10 children in the photos recovered have not been identified. More than 80 children and school staff have been interviewed.Miramonte Elementary is in the Florence Firestone unincorporated area of Los Angeles County and is within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy offered a swift condemnation Tuesday of the teacher, who is in jail on $2.3-million bail and could not be reached for comment. LA Times, 31 Jan 2012.

Berndt’s DNA matched the DNA found on the spoon.

Berndt was an elementary school teacher for thirty years. School officials removed Berndt from the classroom on the same day that investigators informed them of the pending charges. He was fired at the next board meeting.

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