California “Educator” Mark Berndt Took Photos of Children Bound, Gagged, Crawling With Cockroaches, Fed Children His Sperm
TWG: This article is from January, 2012. I found it while reading THIS ARTICLE and wanted to share it with TWG readers.
Mark Berndt, Miramonte Elementary School Teacher, Reportedly Took Photos of Kids Bound, Gagged, Crawling With Cockroaches in Sick ‘Sex Game’
|The South L.A. school where Bendt taught for three decades.|
Updated at the bottom: DNA tests show that Berndt spoon-fed the students his own semen.
A longtime South L.A. elementary school teacher was fired about one year ago, in January 2011, when he was reportedly found with hundreds of photos of his third-grade students — bound, gagged, crawling with cockroaches and sometimes fed semen, according to KNX news radio.
LAUSD Superintendent John Deasy tells KNX that 61-year-old Mark Henry Berndt of Miramonte Elementary was immediately fired when district officials laid eyes on the nauseating photographs.
|Mark Berndt was arrested yesterday after a yearlong investigation.|
Berndt allegedly told the kids that it was all just a game — but investigators from the Special Victims Bureau of the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department tell reporters at Fox11 that the strange ritual was a “sex game” intended to fulfill the perverted sexual desires of the teacher.
Reports say that Berndt snapped up to 400 pictures of at least 23 children, ages 7 to 10 — but those are just the victims who have been identified. Investigators have spent the last year probing the extent of the damage, and fear there may be many more victims who haven’t come forward.
According to Fox11, the cockroaches were lured onto the children’s faces by “putting sugar in their mouths,” but KNX says the sugar was actually semen.
Academically, the veteran third-grade teacher scored below-average marks in the LA Times‘ 2009 teacher ratings. Miramonte is located in unincorporated Los Angeles, near South L.A.
A Twitter user named Mia says she had Mr. Berndt for 2nd and 5th grades. She says he was her favorite teacher, and that the allegations come as a huge shock. “He was obsessed with the Mojave desert, and drove a baby blue vw bug, he did take boy students on trips to the desert,” the woman Tweets. Also: “The only thing I ever thought was out of the ordinary was his camping trips to the desert with the boy students.”
Berndt is reportedly behind bars, held under $2.3 million bail. Sheriff’s officials are planning to release more information within the hour. Updates to come as they’re available.
Update: Gigi Graciette at Fox11, who broke this story, says Redondo Beach police were originally notified of a suspicious roll of film that Berndt took to get developed (apparently containing the kiddie porn). They then turned over the probe to the Sheriff’s Department.
A spoon with Berndt’s own semen on it was reportedly found in the teacher’s classroom trash can. The photos showed the kids — mainly females — blindfolded with with their mouths taped shut.
It’s sick,” says Superintendent Deasy on the morning news. “It makes you sick to your stomach.” He adds that cops are still trying to determine where and when the photos were taken.
So how did something this large-scale and monstrous get past administrators? “There was no student who ever came forward,” says Deasy, looking disgusted and helpless.
The full story, via the L.A. County Sheriff’s Department:
Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau detectives arrested 61-year old Mark Berndt, a teacher with over 30 years’ experience at a South Los Angeles elementary school, on child molestation charges after conducting an extensive sex crimes investigation.The investigation began over a year ago when over 40 photographs depicting children in a school classroom, with their eyes blindfolded and mouths covered with tape, were turned in to law enforcement by a film processor. Film processors are mandated to report suspected child abuse under California law (11166 of the California State Penal Code).Investigators learned that some of the photos depicted Suspect Mark Berndt with his arm around the children, or with his hand over their mouths.In addition, the photographs depicted girls with what appeared to be a blue plastic spoon, filled with an unknown clear/white liquid substance, up to their mouths as if they were going to ingest the substance. There are also photos of children with large live Madagascar-type cockroaches on their faces and mouths.
Over 80 current and former students and school employees were interviewed during the extensive investigation. 23 boys and girls between the ages of 7 – 10 years old, have been identified as victims for crimes that were committed between 2008 – 2010.
A search warrant was served by sheriff’s detectives on the suspect’s home in the city of Torrance, which led to the discovery of over 100 more similar photographs depicting children. Also recovered was a DVD of film depicting adult sexual “Bondage” activity which mirrored the bondage-type photos of the children. The adults in the bondage video were not identified and the images in that video are not a crime.
An additional 250 photographs were later recovered by Sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau detectives from the film processing establishment.
There were over 26 children identified in the 390 total photos. Approximately 10 children have not yet been unidentified.
Early in the investigation, Special Victims Bureau detectives recovered a blue plastic spoon and an empty container from the trash within the suspect’s classroom. The recovered items tested positive for semen. Through further investigation, the suspect’s DNA was obtained and tested, and determined that it matched that of the DNA profile found on the spoon and container.
For over 30 years the suspect was a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School, 1400 E. 68th St., Los Angeles (unincorporated Florence/Firestone area). Shortly after the investigation began, in March 2011, the suspect was terminated by the Los Angeles Unified School District.
Twenty-three felony counts of Lewd Acts Upon a Child, 288(a) of the California State Penal Code, involving 23 children were filed in Norwalk Superior Court on Monday, January 30, 2012, with bail set at $2.3 million.
Update No. 2: The big question that remains this morning: Why was Berndt allowed to walk freely among us for the year that it took the Special Victims Bureau to complete its probe?
Lieutenant Carlos Marquez tells KNX that investigators were “monitoring” the ex-teacher in the months after he was fired. He argues that any immediate danger was mitigated by the school board’s decision to kick Berndt off campus, and says the Sheriff’s Department wanted to gather all possible evidence before making an arrest.
For instance, DNA testing on the spoon and container was only completed “a month and a half ago.” But still — why?
The department insists that the task was complicated enough to warrant the delay. Try telling that to the hundreds, even thousands, of horrified Miramonte parents whose children were exposed to Berndt in his 30-plus years at the elementary school.
Meanwhile, it was revealed the area school district paid Berndt $40,000 to drop a dismissal challenge last year, after he was fired when officials learned local authorities were probing him over ‘lewd acts’. BERNDT ACTUALLY TRIED TO KEEP HIS JOB!
And then there’s this:
‘I’m very happy you’re my student’: Chilling letters sent to children by ‘pervert’ teacher at L.A. sex scandal school
- Students made allegations sex abuse against Miramonte Elementary School
- Girl says already-accused Mark Berndt fed her vanilla cookies in classroom
- School has now reopened with completely new set of staff after scandal
- District facing $5.7m bill to replace staff and still pay former teachers
- Other teacher Martin Springer freed on $300,000 bond on Friday morning
By Mark Duell
UPDATED: 17:15 EST, 10 February 2012
These shocking new pictures show the teacher and his letters to pupils at the centre of a disturbing alleged sex scandal that has led to the closure and reopening of a Los Angeles elementary school.
The photos show Mark Berndt, 61, a Miramonte Elementary School teacher accused of feeding his students spoonfuls of his semen and semen-laced cookies, dressed in black leggings and shorts.
In one he is wearing Mickey Mouse ears and has his arm around a female student. Berndt appears to be eating a cookie of some sort, but it’s unclear whether it was one of his own ‘special’ concoctions.
Inside his mind: One photo shows Mark Berndt with a pupil, left, and a letter he sent to one student is seen right
But this photo is tame compared to some 600 images allegedly seized of Berndt feeding blindfolded students, age six to 10. He is charged with committing lewd acts on 23 children in a five-year period.
Authorities re-opened Miramonte yesterday with an entirely new staff after it was closed when a second teacher was charged with sex abuse against students at the school.
In one physical-education class, first-graders reportedly had to tell their teacher where to find the class schedule and what they were supposed to be doing that period.
Parents and union leaders staged a protest outside, chanting ‘no new teachers’ and said the school board over-reacted by assigning every single member of staff to an unfinished high school nearby.
The teachers’ union is set to file complaints on behalf of many of the staff, who do not yet know if they will ever be able to return to the school.
Some students wrote farewell letters to their former teachers. ‘You had to go because of somebody evil,’ one first-grader wrote. Others wrote: ‘You were a good teacher’ and ‘I will miss you.’
About 100 parents and children protested outside the school on Thursday with signs saying ‘Give us our teachers back’ and chanting ‘no new teachers’. ‘My son liked his teacher,’ said Jose Vargas.
‘It’s kind of hard. You barely know your teacher, and they’re gone. The kids don’t know what’s going on’
Lorena Soriano, Miramonte pupil’s parent
Parents were offered the option of transferring their children to another school. District employees gave parents details about other schools in a two-mile radius and charter schools.
‘It’s kind of hard,’ said Lorena Soriano, whose sixth-grader attends Miramonte. ‘You barely know your teacher, and they’re gone. The kids don’t know what’s going on.’
Meanwhile it was revealed the area school district paid Berndt $40,000 to drop a dismissal challenge last year, after he was fired when officials learned local authorities were probing him over ‘lewd acts’.
‘Mr Berndt, he called my teacher and said if he could borrow some students. The teacher said: “Why is she getting the cookie?”. He said: “Because she’s been helping a lot”‘
Miramonte pupil, 10
School officials were told they couldn’t justify the firing because the sheriff’s office was investigating and they could not interfere with this – so the school wouldn’t have any evidence or witnesses.
It comes as a brave student at Miramonte Elementary School came forward to tell her story of allegedly being fed semen-laced vanilla cookies with white frosting and sprinkles almost every day.
The pupil told KTLA that Berndt often asked a female teacher to send the girl to his adjoining classroom, where he would give her the cookies.
Removed from school: Mark Berndt, 61, (left) was charged with carrying out lewd acts on 23 children who were aged six to ten. His colleague Martin Springer, 49, (right) has been held over claims of lewd acts with minors
‘Mr Berndt, he called my teacher and said if he could borrow some students,’ the pupil told the TV station. ‘I went there, and he gave me a cookie. The teacher said: “Why is she getting the cookie?”
‘I try not to cry a lot in front of her because she’s very strong, so I try to be strong too but it breaks my heart’
Miramonte pupil’s mother
‘He said: “Because she’s been helping a lot”,’ she told KTLA. ‘I thought that he was just giving me the cookie because I was nice and that I helped. He would take (pictures) with his cell phone.’
The shocking interview about the third-grade teacher accused of feeding children his semen during bizarre ‘tasting games’ came as an entirely new staff of teachers are expected to greet students.
‘I try not to cry a lot in front of her because she’s very strong, so I try to be strong too but it breaks my heart,’ the girl’s mother told KTLA. Neither the girl nor her mother have been identified.
Amid outrage from parents, school district officials closed Miramonte for two days to completely turn over the 120-member staff, from janitors to principal, and it re-opened on Thursday.
‘It’s the most severe action I’ve seen taken by a school district,’ anti-child sex abuse campaigner Terri Miller, based in Las Vegas, Nevada, told the New York Daily News.
COULD LOCAL LATINO FAMILIES BE DEPORTED FOR SPEAKING OUT?
Police have reassured undocumented Latinos that they will not be deported if they come forward with details about child sexual abuse allegations at Miramonte, reported MSNBC.
Rumours have been circling among parents that their residency status may be questioned if they speak out and they remain ‘afraid to talk’, immigration lawyer Jessica Dominguez said.
‘We’ve seen a reluctance among families to come forward on the advice of lawyers,’ a Los Angeles County Sheriff spokesman told MNSBC. But he added: ‘A person’s legal status will not be questioned.’
The new staff comprises a retired principal, 88 teachers and support staff who were recently laid off and were on a rehiring list, and the reopening follows further revelations on Wednesday.
Police recovered 200 more inappropriate photos of children and allegedly found Berndt sent warmly written birthday cards and presents to students who participated in his ‘games’.
According to three lawsuits filed against the district on Tuesday, third-grade teacher Berndt sent birthday cards to some of the girls, asking how they were adjusting to the fourth grade.
He also wrote warm notes such as ‘surely no teacher could ever have a more wonderful student than you!!’ and ‘P.P.S. The Roaches Say ‘Hi!’‘ He signed the notes: ‘Mr. B.’
The lawsuits allege the school failed to adequately safeguard them against Berndt and a second teacher, Martin Springer, who faces lewdness charges over the fondling of a second-grader.
Comforting: A parent hugs her child at the start of the school day. School bosses say they are trying to ‘govern emotion’ as the investigation continues
$5.7M TO REPLACE STAFF… AND OLD TEACHERS WILL STILL BE PAID
The decision to replace every teacher and staff member at the school will rack up a bill of at least $5.7million in new hiring costs, a district spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.
In addition, the nearly 90 former teachers and dozens of support staff will continue to be paid even though they won’t be at the school.
Many teachers taking over were laid off by district budget cuts and all have been carefully screened, Superintendent John Deasy said.
There will also be a counsellor in every class for the rest of the year. The district may also face millions of dollars in lawsuit costs.
Berndt gave one girl a CD dated February 12, 2010, writing on it, ‘Happy 9th B-Day – Hope You Enjoy the Songs!’ that included such tracks as ‘Never on Sunday’ and ‘Gonna Get Along Without You’.
Sheriff’s investigators said they have found 200 additional photos they believe were taken by Berndt, who is accused of committing lewd acts on 23 children from 2005 to 2010.
The photos were found last week at the same pharmacy where a photo lab technician first noticed odd pictures that led to Berndt’s arrest. The discovery brings the total photos to roughly 600.
Many of the photos involve children already identified by authorities, but there may be other victims, Sheriff’s Lieutenant Carlos Marquez said.
Like the other pictures, the photos show children ages 6 to 10 blindfolded and being fed a milky, white liquid that authorities believe was semen on spoons or cookies, Lieutenant Marquez said.
‘It’s the most severe action I’ve seen taken by a school district’
Terri Miller, anti-child sex abuse campaigner
Berndt taught for 32 years at the school, remains jailed on $23million bail and faces life in prison if convicted. The furore over his arrest led two parents to come forward last week to complain.
They said Springer, 49, who had worked at the school for 26 years, fondled two second-grade girls. He pleaded not guilty after he was charged with committing three lewd acts on one girl in 2009.
Springer was freed on a $300,000 bond early on Friday and fitted with an ankle monitoring device, reported NBC News. Detectives said there is no evidence that the two men acted in concert.
OAKLAND (CBS 5) — A teacher at Oakland’s Markham Elementary School has been suspended indefinitely after school officials said a pair of second-graders performed sex acts on each other in class – with the teacher present.
“I think everyone is taken aback over this shocking incident,” Troy Flint, the spokesman for the Oakland Unified School District, told CBS 5 on Thursday. “Of course, it is hard to understand how that could have occurred.”
It’s a sick world where these vermin are protected and defended by teachers unions, and paid for by the American taxpayers. Where’s the outrage?
Click here to learn about obama’s “Safe Schools Czar”, Kevin Jennings, who handed out fisting kits, lube, sex guides, anal sex kits, condoms and books written about how to find anonymous sex outside homosexual night clubs and public parks. TO GRADE SCHOOL CHILDREN.