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Report: Teacher may have had over 100 child sex abuse victims

Former Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt, 62, is seen during his change-of-plea hearing in Los Angeles Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

LOS ANGELES - A law enforcement report details allegations of sexual abuse of elementary school students by former Los Angeles teacher Mark Berndt, who previously pleaded no contest to committing lewd acts on children.

The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that a two-year sheriff's inquiry involving Berndt found more than 100 possible victims, including some children who said he molested them

Berndt, 63, who taught at Miramonte Elementary School, was given a 25-year sentence after entering his no contest plea. Prosecutors said he engaged in bizarre sex games with students, including feeding them his bodily fluids.

The newspaper says the allegations in the new report are the first to be made public that Berndt sexually abused students.

The 512-page report is confidential but was summarized by Superior Court Judge John Shepard Wiley during a hearing.

Wiley indicated that Berndt touched students in a sexual manner and exposed himself, while also urging students to touch him.

CBS Los Angeles reports there are several civil cases filed by former students and parents pending against Berndt.

 


Brian Claypool, an attorney representing plaintiffs in the civil cases, accused the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) Friday of covering up child abuse reports dating back to 1988.

"This is a public safety issue. The entire Los Angeles community should be outraged at the fact that LAUSD has intentionally destroyed over 20 years of child records," Claypool said, according to the station.

CBS Los Angeles reports the district has admitted to destroying the original abuse reports in 2008.

"Their only feeble excuse is that 'We had to protect the privacy of the person who filed the child abuse report.' But again, that's not the law," Claypool argues.

Sean Rossall, an LAUSD Council spokesperson, says, "When the school district reviewed the law regulating the possession and disclosure of these records, it realized it had erred by collecting highly confidential law enforcement documents and made sure to bring its policies in line with the statute."

Claypool says he plans to call for a federal investigation into the LAUSD. The first few civil cases against Berndt are expected to go to trial in early July.

  • Crimesider Staff

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