Source: Sylvia Wood / MSNBC
A former 61-year-old elementary school teacher has been charged with molesting 23 children after an investigation by authorities uncovered more than 40 photographs showing victims with their eyes blindfolded and mouths covered with tape, possibly inside a classroom.
Mark Berndt was arrested at his Torrance home Monday following a year-long probe that began when a film processor turned in the images to law enforcement. Berndt was a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in an unincorporated area of south Los Angeles for more than 30 years, but was fired by the school district shortly after the investigation began in January 2011.
“I am sickened and horrified by the behavior of Mark Berndt,” said Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy in a statement. “This individual and his conduct do not reflect on the quality of the teachers who work so hard on behalf of the students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.”
Some of the images allegedly show Berndt with his arm around the children or with his hand over their mouths, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
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