Mark Berndt has been arrested and charged with abusing 23 school kids. The 61-year-old teacher had been an instructor at Miramonte Elementary School for three decades. He was fired last year. Berndt's arrest comes following an almost one-year probe by authorities in Los Angeles County. He is now being held on $2.3M bail.
The lewd acts allegedly took place in the classroom during school hours between '08 and '10 and involved at least 23 girls and boys, ages 7 through 10. Photos turned over by a film processor allegedly show kids blindfolded, gagged, and/or bound. Some have Madagascar cockroaches on them. Female students were allegedly pictured with a spoon containing a white substance close to their mouths that Berndt is accused of having them swallow.
He allegedly told the kids were playing a game. Investigators say there are over 400 images of the kids being abused.
According to Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Capt. Mike Parker, in Berndt's classroom, detectives found a blue spoon, which they tested and confirmed to have carried semen. The police captain says that the DNA on the spoon matches Berndt's DNA.
Los Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy said the school district was told of the allegations of Berndt on January 7, 2011 and he was taken out of the classroom that day. He expressed outrage at Berndt. When questioned about how the lewd acts could occur at the school, Deasy said the district trusted its teachers to "do what is right."
Los Angeles Injuries to a Minor
Even if the kids did not sustain physical injuries during the alleged lewd acts that Berndt is accused of committing, child abuse and sex abuse are serious offenses that can cause serious and emotional injuries. Abusive acts are a violation of the person who is the victim.
"Some of the worst harm suffered by children are crimes resulting in invisible injuries with consequences that end up reverberating throughout their lives," said Howard Law PC partner and Los Angeles Personal Injury Attorney Vincent Howard.
Questions will likely continue to be raised as to how these alleged incidents of Los Angeles child abuse was allowed to happen in the classroom during school hours for at least three years (if not longer). Schools can be held liable for Los Angeles personal injury if their negligence caused or allowed a student to get hurt in an accident or become the victim of a crime.
"The sooner you talk to a LA injury law firm, the better so that you can start pursuing the best legal options available to you, "said Anaheim injuries to a minor attorney Vincent Howard.
Deasy: Teacher accused of abuse removed from class immediately, Los Angeles Times, January 31, 2012
Teacher charged with lewd acts in child bondage photos case, OC Register, January 31, 2012
More Blog Posts:
California Supreme Court Considers Whether to Allow Adult Victims of Child Sex Abuse to Sue Third Parties that Knew But Failed to Act, California Injury Lawyers, January 5, 2012
Talent Manager Accused of Los Angeles Child Sex Abuse, California Injury Lawyers, November 29, 2011
Riverside County Sex Abuse Lawsuit Filed Against Desert Sands Unified School District, California Injury Lawyers, October 30, 2011
In Los Angeles County, San Bernardino County, Riverside County, and Orange County, California, contact Anaheim personal injury lawyer Vincent Howard.