If there was ever time the public would clamor for vigilante justice, this would definitely be one of them.
A formerly renowned Los Angeles teacher of elementary schoolchildren has been sentence to decades of hard time after pleading no contest of performing lewd acts on children.
Mark Berndt, 62, entered a no contest plea on 23 charges, mostly for engaging “tasting games” with third graders — a revolting and shocking act in which he had children eat cookies that were laced with semen. Sometimes they would also have cockroaches in them.
Before this unspeakable crime against children, Berndt was not removed from his post despite complaints about him that date back to the 1990s.
With Berndt’s plea he is expected to be sentenced to 25 years in prison, according to John Manly, an attorney who represents 30 of his Miramonte Elementary School students and their parents. Manly said Thursday that he was notified of the plea by prosecutors, who urged a plea deal because “they were concerned about re-traumatizing the children at trial,” according to the Los Angeles Daily News.
While some my be outraged at just 25 years behind bars, the attorney for the families called it a victory for his clients.
“He’s going to jail essentially for the rest of his life,” Manly said. “You can’t ask for more than that.”
Berndt is expected to admit that he blindfolded students while spoon-feeding them semen-laced cookies and sometimes putting huge cockroaches on them.
Sean Rossall, a district spokesman, said 63 lawsuits filed on behalf of victims have been settled for a total of $29.5 million, and 71 more are pending.
Berndt had been teaching in South Los Angeles — an area in the city that used to be referred as “South Central Los Angeles” — for 32 years before he was removed in 2011.
The law came crashing down on Berndt after a drugstore photo technician noticed dozens of odd photos of blindfolded third-graders and show them to LAPD. It was not long after that when investigators found a plastic spoon in Berndt’s classroom trash bin that tests confirmed had traces of semen on it.
God have mercy on his soul.