In The News…
Five more alleged victims have contacted sheriff’s investigators since they announced the arrest of a longtime Miramonte Elementary School teacher accused of abusing children in his classroom, authorities said.
The children’s allegations must all be verified to determine whether any additional charges can be filed against Mark Berndt, 61, who is expected in court Wednesday for arraignment on 23 counts of lewd acts against children, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.
Berndt, who was being held in lieu of $2.3-million bail, regularly told his students that they were going to play a “tasting game,” in which children were blindfolded and, in some cases, gagged with tape, authorities say. He used a blue plastic spoon to feed children a white substance that DNA tests later revealed to be his semen. The students were told to tell Berndt whether the substance tasted salty or sweet, authorities said. The father of one alleged victim also told The Times his son was photographed eating a cookie that appeared to also be laced with semen.