200 New Photos Found in Miramonte Child Sex Probe
Alleged victim describes Miramonte abuse.
February 8, 2012
SOUTH LOS ANGELES, Calif. (KTLA) — Investigators have uncovered an additional 200 bondage-type photos of children allegedly taken by Miramonte School teacher Mark Berdt
The pictures were found inside a computer at the Redondo Beach CVS store where the original photos implicating Berdt were found, Sgt. Dan Scott told KTLA.
Scott says the photos show about 25 victims that haven’t been identified yet.
The new pictures bring the total number of photos to roughly 600.
Berndt, who worked at Miramonte Elementary for more than 30 years, has been charged with 23 felony counts of lewd acts on a child.
A student who says she was sexually abused by Berndt says a female teacher at the school ushered her into Berndt’s classroom, where the alleged abuse took place.
In an exclusive interview with KTLA, the 10-year-old girl said Berndt — who was not her teacher — would contact her female teacher and ask for the her to be sent to his classroom to “get cookies during class.”
“Mr. Berndt, he called my teacher and (asked) if he could borrow some students,” the girl said in the interview….
Attorney Brian Claypool, who represents five of Berndt’s alleged victims, including the 10-year-old girl, said he has forwarded the female teacher’s name and address to law enforcement officials.
Scott told KTLA that investigators have interviewed the female teacher and that, “we are satisfied with her answers she’s provided us. She is definitely not a suspect. I can’t predict what will happen in the future….
A second Miramonte teacher, Martin Springer, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to three counts of lewd acts on a child.
However according to authorities one of the girls dropped her case on Wednesday.
They said they are not pursuing that case because she and her family did not want to get involved in the investigation….
Additionally, two women, who are now adults, said school officials investigated rumors about Berndt back in 1990.
One of the women was called before a school counselor with two other girls, but the counselor chalked it up to the girls’ vivid imaginations and the subject was dropped.
In another instance, a woman who discovered love-letters written by a Miramonte teacher’s aide to her 11-year-old son was not taken seriously.
The Los Angeles Times reports that in June 2009, the mother of a fourth-grade boy discovered love letters from the aide, identified as Areceli Luisjuan….
In 2005, Richard Guevara, a former teacher’s aide at Miramonte Early Education Center, was convicted in 2005 of committing lewd acts with children.
He had been investigated for improper behavior as far back as 1995, but it was a case from 2003 that led to his conviction.
In that case, Guevara received a sentenced of 15 years to life in prison.