L.A. Sheriff's Department
Accused teacher Mark Berndt.
Sheriff's investigators have five more alleged victims in the horrifying case of longtime Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, who appeared in court, handcuffed behind a caged area, on Wednesday. His arraignment on 23 counts of lewd acts against children has been held over until Feb 23.
Prosecutors were able to increase Berndt's bail today from $2.3-million, to $23 million, based on the alleged crimes. Additional charges may be filed pending verification of the new allegations, notes the L.A. Times.
The 61-year-old allegedly told children they were going to play a "tasting game," blindfoldeding the victims, gagging some with tape, putting cockroaches on others, and spoon-feeding them a white substance that DNA tests revealed to be his semen, according to authorities.
The victims were supposed to say whether the substance was sweet or salty and if they liked the taste, say authorities, who were tipped off by a CVS photo lab tech who reported suspicious photos of bound children to police.
L.A. Sheriff's Department
Revolting and disturbing details continue to emerge in the case of a 30-year Los Angeles teacher arrested under suspicion of committing lewd acts on 23 children, including tying them up, putting cockroaches on their faces, and possibly feeding them his semen from a spoon.
61-year-old Mark Berndt was brought to the attention of authorities in October 2010 when a photo processor in Redondo Beach reported images of young children gagged and blindfolded, covered with cockroaches, and consuming liquid from a spoon.
The former Miramonte Elementary School teacher, who was fired in March, was taken from his Torrance home by authorities on Monday following a year-long investigation, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's department.
The suspect was a teacher of "average effectiveness," according to a Times analysis of standardized test scores,
A longtime L.A. teacher has been charged with a slew of horrific crimes against the children he taught.
City News Service and the L.A. Times report that a former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in L.A. County has been arrested for allegedly committing lewd acts on a child, according to the sheriff's department. Mark Berndt, 61, was arrested at his home in Torrance on Monday. He is being held on $2.3 million bail. The allegations involve photographs of lewd acts committed upon about two dozen children between the ages of 7 and 10. The crimes allegedly occurred between 2008 and 2010.
More disturbing details from the Times included that Berndt is accused of "allegedly tying them up, placing giant cockroaches on their faces and possibly feeding them his semen from a spoon," sometimes apparently inside a school.