Entries in Mark Berndt (3)


Los Angeles School Scandal: Lawyer Wants Teacher Treated Fairly

Krista Kennell/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- With the city of Los Angeles and even the nation outraged at the alleged sexual abuse accusations against elementary school teacher Mark Berndt, his attorney Victor Acevedo asked Tuesday that people not find his client guilty until he's had his day in court.

The lawyer made his request on the same day that Berndt, who has been charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on children at Miramonte Elementary School in south Los Angeles, pleaded not guilty.

Berndt, 61, is alleged to have taken pictures of children who were blindfolded in his classroom and in some cases, reportedly fed them spoonfuls of his semen among other lewd acts. The youngsters were not aware they were being victimized, according to prosecutors.

Acevedo claimed during the arraignment that jail staff announced over a loudspeaker that Berndt, who's currently being held on $23 million bail, was a child molester and in which dorm he was staying.

Child molesters are at particular risk for being attacked in prison.

In response to Acevedo's allegation, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore said, "We don’t do that kind of thing, but we're going to do an investigation of it."

The case against Berndt began in October 2010 when a drugstore photo processor turn over photos he said were from the teacher that showed children blindfolded and gagged.

While Berndt was removed from the classroom in January 2010, there are questions about why it took a year to file charges.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Second Teacher Charged in Los Angeles School Scandal

KABC-TV/ABC News(LOS ANGELES) -- Prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed lewd acts charges against a second teacher for allegedly fondling at least one student at the beleaguered Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles.

Martin Springer was charged Tuesday with three counts of committing lewd acts on one girl, according to The Los Angeles Times, which reported that a law enforcement officer said a second girl recanted her accusation against the teacher.

Bail for Springer was reportedly set at $300,000, while the judge said the 49-year-old will be forced to wear an ankle monitoring device if released.

Another teacher, Mark Berndt, was arrested earlier after a year-long investigation into lewd acts he allegedly committed on 23 children aged 6-10 between 2005 and 2010.  He is accused of feeding students cookies with his semen on them and taking pictures of students blindfolded with cockroaches in their faces.

Brian Claypool, an attorney for some of Berndt's alleged victims, told ABC News that he has identified a female teacher who would allegedly bring little girls to Berndt to be victimized.

"I reported to the L.A. County Sheriff's Special Victims Unit a new teacher who I believe patently aided and abetted the abuse Berndt was carrying out," Claypool told ABC News.

Claypool said his accusation has come from conversations with at least three students or former students who said the other female teacher had a role in the alleged crimes.

"She was a teacher who would escort little girls into Berndt's classroom when he was all alone.  Berndt would come over in the middle of day, whisper in her ear, and they would giggle, and then teacher would pick out two girls, escort them through a common door, so that they were stuck with a pedophile in this classroom.  And that's where he was blindfolding them and spoon-feeding them semen," he said.

Following the arrests of Springer and Berndt, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy announced on Monday he was having Miramonte's 128-person staff temporarily transferred out of the school for the remainder of the winter track.

The district has contacted former teachers and staff members who had been laid off during budget cuts to come back and temporarily teach at the school.

The school is expected to reopen to students on Thursday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Entire Los Angeles Elementary School Staff Removed Amid Molestation Charges

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- Amid allegations that two of its teachers committed lewd acts on students, a Los Angeles elementary school will be wiped clean of all of its staff while investigations into the accusations continue.

Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy made the announcement Monday night while meeting with parents.  He said everyone from the principal to the janitors at Miramonte Elementary School will be removed and replaced. The new staff is scheduled to take over on Thursday when classes resume.

"I can't have any more surprises at Miramonte, even though the police will do what they have to do.  And if there are no more, thank God.  We deal with the horror and the tragedy I have already.  And if there are more, then we will have to deal with that," Deasy said.

Last week, third grade teacher Mark Berndt was arrested for allegedly abusing 23 students, ages 7 to 10, between 2008 and 2010.  According to officials, the 61-year-old blindfolded and sometimes gagged children, spoon-feeding some of them his semen and placing live cockroaches on the faces of others.

Berndt, who's being held on $23 million bail, was busted when a worker at a film processing outlet turned over photos of the alleged abuse to police.

A few days after Berndt's arrest, another teacher at Miramonte was placed behind bars for molesting some of his students.  Martin Springer, 49, is accused of fondling two girls over the past three years.

"I am outraged, disgusted," Deasy said, referring to the allegations.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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