LA teacher charged with molesting 23 children|
Tue Jan 31, 2012 10:35PM GMT
A former Los Angeles teacher has been arrested and charged with lewd acts against 23 children.
Authorities took 61-year-old Mark Berndt into custody Monday for allegedly tying up the children and putting large cockroaches on their face.
Information on Berndt's actions were obtained when a photo processor turned over graphic photos showing children blindfolded with cockroaches around them and girls holding a spoon with an unknown white substance on it.
Berndt, who taught at Miramonte Elementary School for three decades, was fired in March and is being held in prison on a $2.3 million bail. Raw Story
The charges involve 23 boys and girls ages 6 to 10 between 2008 and 2010. Washington Post
Authorities began investigating Berndt over a year ago, after more than 40 photos depicting children in classrooms with their eyes blindfolded and mouths covered with tape were turned over to police, Sheriff's Department officials said. Chicago Tribune
Some photographs showed girls being offered a blue plastic spoon that contained a clear or white substance, which authorities now believe may have been semen. Early in the investigation, detectives recovered a similar blue spoon from the trash within the teacher's classroom that tested positive for semen, Sheriff's Sergeant Dan Scott of the special victims unit said. Chicago Tribune
Investigators have discovered a total of 390 photos in the case, and about 10 of the children depicted in the photos have not been identified, the Sheriff's Department said. torontosun.com
Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent, John Deasy, commented on the investigation, saying "the district takes each and every reported act of criminal and administrative misconduct seriously, and we will continue to aggressively pursue each case to determine the truth of the matter, and initiate the appropriate disciplinary measures." atvn.org
He stated that the victims and their families have been provided with crisis counselors. atvn.org