This is an archival story that predates current editorial management.
This archival content was written, edited, and published prior to LAist's acquisition by its current owner, Southern California Public Radio ("SCPR"). Content, such as language choice and subject matter, in archival articles therefore may not align with SCPR's current editorial standards. To learn more about those standards and why we make this distinction, please click here.
Accused "Tasting Game" Teacher Called Out as Molester in Jail, His Lawyer Blames the Sheriff's Department
Mark Berndt, the ousted Miramonte Elementary School teacher accused of performing lewd acts on 23 children, pleaded not guilty today on all charges. Outside the court today, Berndt's court-appointed attorney, Victor Acevedo, told reporters his client is being harassed in jail, and the Sheriff's Department is to blame.Acevedo said he was told that a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department used the loudspeaker at the Twin Towers jail to announce Berndt's presence in the facility "to identify him as a child molester to other inmates," according to City News Service.
Consequently, claims Acevedo, Berndt has been threatened and harassed.
Berndt, 61, was arrested last month following a year-long investigation of allegations he involved his young students in something he called the "Tasting Game" in which he blindfolded the children and spoon-fed them samples of his own semen, among other lewd acts.
Acevedo clarifies that Berndt's exact location within the jail was not announced, however he maintains, if authorities did make such an announcement, doing so "essentially put a bull's eye on [Berndt's] head, so to speak."
A spokesman for the LASD said this was news to them, but upon hearing Acevedo's remarks, they launched an investigation of his allegations.