Los Angeles authorities find 200 more photos in teacher case

Protesters demonstrate Monday near Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles County, California.

Story highlights

  • Attorney for second teacher charged in case says it's "premature" to comment
  • The photos, now totaling about 600, allegedly were taken by former teacher Mark Berndt
  • Berndt, 61, is facing 23 felony counts of lewd acts upon pupils
  • Berndt resigned last spring as a teacher at Miramonte Elementary School
Los Angeles County investigators have found 200 more photos allegedly taken by a former public elementary school teacher now facing 23 felony counts of lewd acts with pupils, a sheriff's spokesman said Wednesday.
Authorities have been able to identify pupils in 175 of the 200 photographs and they are trying to identify those in the remaining 25, said Sgt. Dan Scott of Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
Authorities declined to provide further details.
Authorities now have a total of 600 photographs allegedly taken by former teacher Mark Berndt, 61, of Miramonte Elementary School, who was arrested last week and accused of taking bondage photos of more than two dozen students in his classroom, including some with suspected semen-filled spoons at their mouths.
The school board fired Berndt a year ago; Berndt appealed but he dropped the appeal and resigned last spring, Waldman said.
Berndt is now being held in lieu of $23 million bail, authorities said.
In their expanding investigation into a teacher sexual misconduct scandal at Miramonte, authorities also charged this week a second teacher, Martin Bernard Springer, 49, of Alhambra, California, whom the school board board fired Tuesday.
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Springer pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three felony charges of lewd acts with a girl pupil under the age of 14.
Springer was arrested last week on allegations that he fondled two girls in the classroom, but the formal charges involved only one alleged victim.
When asked about the other alleged victim's accusations, spokeswoman Jane Robison of the Los Angeles County district attorney's office said Wednesday: "At this time we have only enough evidence to charge him with one victim."
Springer's attorney, Daniel Kolodziej, told CNN Wednesday that "it would be premature to issue a statement or comment on the allegations against Mr. Springer."
In response to bail conditions set by Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Upinder Kalra which requires that Martin stay 100 feet away from alleged victims and witnesses, 250 feet away from schools and parks and may not be in the company of minors without a supervising adult, Kolodziej said: "The judge offered what was appropriate not withstanding our objections."
In the wake of the teacher misconduct charges, the Los Angeles Unified School District is restaffing the entire 70-teacher school, which was closed Wednesday, as it was Tuesday.
The 1,400-student school is scheduled to reopen with entirely new staff, including a new principal, on Thursday. On Wednesday, the new staff was being trained in the school auditorium, according to one new special education assistant, Contisia Davis.
"It looks good in there because everyone is doing their job and doing the best they can," Davis told CNN. A 16-year teaching veteran, Davis said she was specially selected to work at Miramonte and had been assigned to the school system's Manual Arts High School until she was told of her school assignment Tuesday.
Miramonte is a kindergarten-through-6th-grade school located in unincorporated Los Angeles County within the Florence-Firestone area, south of downtown Los Angeles.