In Los Angeles, a previous elementary school teacher has been sent to prison for 25 years due to taking photographs that had many of his pupils appearing in bondage-style poses. It is also believed he could have abused over 100 children in total, both exposing and feeling on himself while he was around a large amount of them, a judge has found.
The arrest of Mark Berndt back in 2012 ignited extensive outrage when it was revealed that between the years of 2005 and 2010 he had been taking pictures of blindfolded schoolchildren, with some snapshots even showing spoons full of semen being held up to their faces.
Berndt, age 63, pleaded no contest in 2013 to charges of lewd conduct which involved nearly 25 children in the criminal case based around the photographs. But disclosures of a hypothetically wider scope of abuse have come up in a civil lawsuit which is set for trial in July of this year against his former boss, the Los Angeles School District.
Los Angeles Judge John Shepard Wiley explained on Wednesday of last week in a tentative ruling which was centered on findings that came from the L.A. County’s Sheriff’s Department and their examination around the Miramonte Elementary School teacher. Wiley stated that it is believed that Berndt could have possibly abused a huge amount of elementary school children, perhaps even over 100 kids or more.
Sheriff’s investigators, in a report which is over 500 pages long, stated that Berndt had molested his students by getting them to touch him in inappropriate ways and also exposing himself to them by sitting in chairs while he wore very short shorts without wearing any underwear. However the report did not state the exact time period in which the suspected wider types of abuse by Berndt might have happened.
Last year the Los Angeles school district was able to reach a deal that equaled around $30 million in a class settlement with nearly 65 children and their families, who had brought suit over the abuse by Berndt. There are around 70 more plaintiffs with the civil suit that is going to trial this July, stated a district spokesperson.
One of Berndt’s attorneys declared that his client had never exposed himself or molested any children, no matter what the findings of the sheriff’s report had found. The lawyer was quick to state that just because such items were in the sheriff’s report did not mean that any of it was true. He added that just because there happened to be smoke did not mean there was fire.
Lawyers for some of the children and their families who had brought up lawsuits against the Los Angeles district, spoke in a press conference on Friday and stated that school district officials back in 2008 had destroyed over thousands of pages of complaints of abuse which involved teachers. It was revealed that these were copies of records that had been given to law enforcement already. The district was obliged to get rid of them in order to avoid violating California state law by letting go of information to the wrong individuals.
Regardless, Berndt will spend the next 25 years in prison for what he has done to the children who put their trust in him and he turned around and betrayed it. It will be revealed in July of this year if he really did abuse over 100 children in total, by both exposing and feeling on himself while he was around them. With the man being 63 years of age, 25 years is basically a life sentence, so he will spend the rest of his natural life behind bars.
By Kimberly Ruble
All Voices News
First Post News