Teacher Accused Of Feeding Students Semen To Plead No Contest To Abuse [UPDATED]
Note from the editors: On November 21, 2013 we discovered the post below did not follow our standard practice for attribution, which is to quote and link to original sources. The source in question are ABC 7. The editor responsible is no longer working for LAist, and we are reviewing each of her other posts and will issue corrections if we discover any other errors.Former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt is expected to plead no contest to charges he molested nearly two dozen students.
Berndt is charged with committing lewd acts against children, including spoon-feeding them semen. The 61-year-old will enter his plea on Friday, ABC7 reports, and withdraw his not guilty plea in connection with the investigation into his conduct at the South L.A. school.
He has agreed to a sentence of 25 years in prison, according to the Los Angeles Times. The conclusion of the case was reached after those involved agreed it was crucial to avoid having children testify in court.
Berndt was arrested in January 2012 after a drugstore photo technician alerted authorities of more than 40 images of children blindfolded, some with tape over their mouths.
Berndt, who taught at the school for nearly thirty years, was charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct involving allegations that he spoon-fed semen to blindfolded children as part of what he reportedly called a "tasting game." He also was accused of feeding them semen-tainted cookies and placing cockroaches on their faces.
UPDATE, Nov. 15, 10:22 a.m.: Mark Berndt was sentenced to 25 years in prison after pleading no contest Friday morning to 23 counts of lewd conduct with young students at his school, according to the Los Angeles Times.
"The last thing Mr. Berndt wants to see was those 23 children walk to that witness stand," his attorney Manny Medrano said in explaining the plea during Friday's hearing.