Southern California -- this just in

« Previous Post | L.A. NOW Home | Next Post »

Credentials suspended for 2 L.A. teachers accused of lewd acts

February 8, 2012 |  3:06 pm

Mark Berndt and Martin Springer

State officials announced Wednesday that they have suspended the teaching credentials of two Miramonte Elementary School students accused of lewd acts against students.

The Commission on Teacher Credentialing said teacher Martin Springer's credential was suspended Wednesday and that former teacher Mark Berndt's credential was suspended last month.

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials Wednesday said they have no plans to make more arrests in the cases.

PHOTOS: Parent uproar over sex-abuse claims

Sgt. Dan Scott said the investigation was continuing but that no other teachers are under suspicion at this time. An attorney representing the family of one of the alleged child victims has suggested that a third teacher might be involved.

But Scott said that teacher is not a suspect. Detectives have interviewed that teacher and said they have no plans to arrest her.

The news comes as authorities discovered 200 new photos allegedly taken by one of the teachers arrested last week.

FULL COVERAGE: Teacher sex-abuse investigation

The new photos were recovered late last week from a South Bay CVS pharmacy after a search of the drugstore's computer systems for photos from Berndt.

It was the same location that initially yielded 40 images in the fall of 2010 and led authorities to begin a more than yearlong investigation of the educator. When Berndt was arrested last week, authorities said they recovered a total of 400 photos gathered from various locations, including his home.

Scott said the new photos -- like the others -- showed children with mouths taped over, blindfolded and sometimes with them eating from a spoon or with a cockroach on them.

He said there are some new children's faces in the batch of photos. Prosecutors allege that Berndt spoon-fed his semen to blindfolded children as part of what he called a “tasting game.”

Berndt has been charged with 23 felony counts and is being held on $23-million bail.

Springer was charged Monday with three counts of lewd acts upon a child. He was arrested Friday after girls at the school came forward with allegations. One of those girls has since recanted her claims, a law enforcement source said.

On Monday, Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. John Deasy announced that he was removing the entire staff at Miramonte and replacing them with new personnel. Deasy said he took the action to help restore parent confidence in the school.


'Culture of silence' probed at school rocked by abuse scandal

Girl who accused Miramonte teacher of abuse recants her story

Teachers' aide allegedly sent love letters to Miramonte student

-- Richard Winton

Photos: Mark Berndt, left, and Martin Springer

Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department