Officials deny ex-Miramonte teacher harassed by L.A. deputies
However, officials said they would launch an investigation into the allegations.
Victor Acevedo, an attorney with the L.A. County public defender's office, said in court during Berndt's arraignment that jail staff publicly announced over a loudspeaker that Berndt was a child molester and named the dorm where he was being housed.
Berndt pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges that he engaged in lewd conduct with students at the southeast L.A. County school. He appeared unkempt and unshaven, allegedly because sheriff's officials refused to give him a razor or a haircut, Acevedo said.
"My main concern is for my client's safety," Acevedo said at a news conference after the arraignment.
Sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said the public defender’s allegations would represent “completely inappropriate” conduct.
“We don’t do that kind of thing, but we're going to do an investigation of it,” he said.
Whitmore said the public defender should have come to the Sheriff’s Department first with the allegations.
“It’s the first we’ve heard of it,” he said. “Nobody knows anything about this.”
Sheriff’s Commander Jim Hellmold said the teacher “has never been in general population. He’s always been classified as a keep-away for security concerns.”
-- Dalina Castellanos at L.A. County Superior Court and Robert Faturechi
Photo: Mark Berndt in court Tuesday. Credit: Al Seib / Los Angeles Times