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Sheriff's Dept. says allegation in KTLA story on Miramonte 'is not true'

Screenshot from KTLA's report
Screenshot from KTLA's report

A local TV report alleging that another teacher had helped sexual abuse suspect Mark Berndt commit lewd acts on students is false, according to the L.A. Sheriff's Department. 

Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore told KPCC that the allegation in the KTLA report "is not true."

In the story by reporter David Begnaud, an unidentified student talked about how her teacher would let Berndt "borrow" her, and that Berndt gave her cookies. Begnaud said the girl's remarks proved that the unnamed teacher "worked with [Berndt] to victimize children."

Sheriff's investigators have determined that the teacher is not a suspect, Whitmore told KPCC. "They talked to the woman and they looked at all the evidence and decided there was nothing criminal."

KTLA has since been informed that the accused teacher is not a suspect, according to Whitmore.

"Whether it’s witnesses or suspects, we want them to talk to us and only us," he said.

You can watch the KTLA story here.

Update 6:57 p.m.: KTLA says they have no intention of removing the segment from their website, though they did issue an update with the Sheriff's Department's response at 1 p.m.

"We reported on updates as they developed," said Jason Ball, news director for KTLA. "Obviously, this is a growing, changing story, so we've just, we're reporting the news as we get it."

Ball said the news update will be up on their website shortly.

This story was updated February 10 to more clearly reflect that Whitmore's comments were about the allegations regarding the unnamed teacher in the KTLA story.


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