62-year-old Mark Berndt, a former teacher at Los Angeles Miramonte Elementary School, has been criminally charged for blindfolding students and feeding them cookies frosted with his semen. Berndt taught at Miramonte Elementary school for over 30 years. Prosecutors say Berndt engaged the students in “Tasting Games” where he encouraged minors to follow through lewd and repulsive acts of misconduct in his classroom. Berndt was caught by investigators when they found traces of his semen on a plastic spoon, located inside the classroom trash bin.
According to police, during the last two decades Berndt had abused an estimate of 20 to 30 students. The New York Daily News reports that the allegations against him came to light when a drugstore photo technician noticed dozens of odd photos of blindfolded third-graders and reported them to authorities. Allegedly, Berndt has a history of complaints dating back to the 1990’s. In February of 2012, Berndt and Martin Springer, a fellow teacher at the time, were accused of fondling young girls under their desks. Berndt was also caught taking bondage photos of children. Mark Berndt and Martin Springer where arrested after those allegations.
Shortly after the news of his most recent charges spread, parents protested saying the school ignored the complaints made against Berndt and the superintendent, John Deasy did not act to protect the safety of their children at the school. Berndt was removed from the South Los Angeles Elementary School in 2011. In February of 2012 their was a temporary removal of 88 teachers and 40 staff members, who underwent an investigation. 43 members returned for the new school year including a new principal.
Mark Berndt has agreed to plead no contest to all charges. John Manly, an attorney for the Elementary School victims says that prosecutors have urged a plea deal because “they were concerned about re-traumatizing the children at trial.” The plea agreement calls for Berndt to be sentenced to 25 years in prison.