“But whoever hurts one of these little ones who believe in Me and causes them to loose faith, it would be better for that person to have a large stone hung around their neck, and be drowned in the sea.
But whoever hurts the faith of one of these little ones who believe in Me, it would better for that person to be dropped in the sea with a weight around their neck and be put to death. Mathew 18
Several children at Miramonte Elementary School were abused by their third-grade teacher, Mark Berndt, who fed them his semen. He blindfolded them, put tape over their mouths and even placed live cockroaches on their faces and told them it was a game. During the lunch breaks or recess, he’d go out to the playground and entice students back to the classroom. Then he photographed them, making pictures that would eventually lead to his arrest.
The police investigation began when a film processor discovered Berndt’s photos about a year ago. Since the discovery, Berndt was fired and police put him under surveillance. The investigation began after the film processor, who is required by state law to report suspicions of child abuse and molestation, turned over about 40 photographs to authorities. In addition about 400 photos were found at Berndt’s home and at the photo lab during later searches. At least 10 children in the photos have not yet been identified.
Some of the photos showed Berndt with his hand over their mouths and with live bugs the size of hissing cockroaches on their mouths or faces. Others showed girls with a spoon up to their mouths as if they were going to eat a clear-white liquid. Some children were fed semen from a spoon or on cookies. Some of the children reported being fed something very distasteful. A blue plastic spoon and container found in the trash in his classroom tested positive for his semen, investigators said. Police recommended that the children in the photos be tested for STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases).
Berndt, who has no previous arrest record, lives only a few blocks from two parks and an elementary school. There could be many more unknown victims not yet discovered. Berndt has taught as an assistant and teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District from 1976 according to a district work history obtained by the Los Angeles Times. Berndt had no disciplinary actions on file and performed up to standards in evaluations.
Berndt was charged with committing lewd acts on 23 boys and girls, ages 6 to 10, between 2008 and 2010. Berndt was arrested Monday at his home in Torrance and was being held on $2.3 million bail. He could get a life sentence if he is convicted.
Update: They have now pulled every teacher from that school to be questioned and will be replacing the staff with new teachers during the investigation. In my opinion, public schools are going to have to do like churches and other organizations, that is, they need to have at least two teachers in each classroom, and make sure no child is ever alone with a teacher. Each classroom should have a teacher’s assistant. This is for their own protection against false allegations and for the protection of the students. Abuses could still occur if the two of them cooperated, but I think this would minimize the chance of child sexual abuses occurring.
Author Kimberly Hartfield’s new books
- Miramonte Elementary School students speak out about accused teacher (abclocal.go.com)
- Teacher jailed after spoon feeding his own semen to 23 students, $23m bail (examiner.com)
- L.A. Teacher Bail $23M on Abuse Charges (time.com)