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Deasy: Teacher accused of abuse removed from class immediately

January 31, 2012 | 11:03 am

Mark BerndtLos Angeles schools Supt. John Deasy offered a swift condemnation Tuesday of the teacher arrested on charges of sexually abusing students at Miramonte Elementary School.

"I find it disgusting, I find it reprehensible," Deasy told The Times about teacher Mark Berndt, 61, who has been charged with lewd acts on 23 children. "I hope this man spends the rest of his life in prison."

It is "despicable," Deasy said, "when you are entrusted with the lives of our youth, and you violate that."

AUDIO:  Listen to the principal's message

Deasy said L.A. Unified was notified of the allegations on Jan. 7, 2011, and Berndt was removed from the classroom the same day. He was terminated by the district at its next meeting.

Deasy said that, at the time of Berndt's dismissal, he was aware of the "general allegations," but had not seen the photos nor was he aware of the full scope of the Sheriff's Department's investigation.

Deasy said he did not know where at the school or when the incidents are alleged to have occurred.


The 23 students who were allegedly abused by the teacher have been offered psychological and social support, Deasy said. Some of the families have taken up the district's offers, while others have not, Deasy said.

He said it was disturbing that none of the children who were photographed reported it.

"It's a question I've asked myself since I heard about this," Deasy said.


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Photo store discovered teacher's disturbing images, officials say

-- Rick Rojas

Photo: Mark Berndt. Credit: L.A. County Sheriff's Department