LAUSD Ignored Decades Of Complaints About The Teacher Who Fed Students His Semen
New documents show that parents and students had been making complaints about Mark Berndt, the former Miramonte teacher currently serving a 25-year-sentence for molesting his students, since 1983.Berndt was employed at Miramonte from 1979 until 2011, and this new information indicates he may have been abusing his students for decades, and that the district knew about it prior to his conviction in 2013, L.A. Times reports.
In 1983, a parent accused Berndt of dropping his pants during a field trip to a museum. A memo about the accusation written by Miramonte's principal at the time was found, in which the principal noted that he had called the parent. Additionally, there was a note Berndt himself had written which thanked the principal and apologized, while seeming to claim that his pants just fell down on their own.
The letter read: "P.S. I did learn at least one thing for sure! Not to take students to the museum while wearing baggy shorts!"
Several former students also testified that they had reported seeing Berndt masturbating in class in 1992, but that officials did not believe them. Another student testified that she reported being molested by Berndt in 1994, but the case was dropped due to insufficient evidence.
Despite all these reports and allegations over the years, the investigation that finally convicted Berndt was only launched after Berndt tried to develop a roll of film at his local CVS. The film processor found over 40 photos that Berndt had taken in which children had tape over their eyes and mouths and live cockroaches placed on their bodies and faces. In some of the photos, Berndt appeared to be spoon-feeding children his semen. The processor called the police, which led to Berndt finally being put behind bars.
Ultimately, he was accused of a laundry list of other despicable things including spoon-feeding children his semen and calling it a "tasting game"; feeding kids cookies laced with his semen; exposing himself to children and coercing them into touching his genitals; and possibly touching female students genitals and breasts.
The district has already paid $30 million to victims to settle 58 claims, but that only accounts for half of the known victims. A motion from the district to dismiss the rest of the cases will be held on October 7.