Girl who accused Miramonte teacher of abuse recants her story
One of two girls who accused a Miramonte Elementary School teacher of fondling her has recanted her story, according to law enforcement sources.
Martin Bernard Springer, 49, was charged Tuesday with three counts of committing lewd acts. He was arrested Friday after two students at the school accused him of fondling them.
But the charges filed Tuesday only involve one girl. The source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the case was ongoing, said one of two two alleged victims had changed her story in the last few days.
Springer has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
Judge Upinder Kalra set bail at $300,000 and directed that Springer wear an ankle monitoring device if released. He must also stay 100 yards from the alleged victim and witnesses, and 250 feet from schools and parks, and may not be in the company of minors without a supervising adult.
If convicted, Springer, of Alhambra, faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, district attorney's spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said.
Springer's arrest came as the elementary school in the unincorporated Florence-Firestone neighborhood of South Los Angeles was still reeling from the arrest of former teacher Mark Berndt, 61.
Prosecutors allege that Berndt spoon-fed his semen to blindfolded children as part of what he called a "tasting game." Police have collected hundreds of disturbing photos; in some, children are shown with a milky substance around their mouths.
Berndt was charged with 23 felony counts and was being held in lieu of $23-million bail.
Springer, like Berndt, had spent his entire teaching career at Miramonte. Berndt, a Torrance resident, began working as a teacher there in 1979, Springer in 1986.
-- Richard Winton
Photo: Martin Springer. Credit: L.A. County Sheriff's Department