LOS ANGELES – The actions of one elementary school teacher have cost the Los Angeles public school district $27 million in legal settlements.
And the district hasn’t even settled half of the lawsuits that were filed in response to one of the most outrageous cases of student sexual abuse in U.S. history.
There were 191 lawsuits filed in the case of Mark Berndt, a former Miramonte Elementary teacher, who alleged committed sexually lewd acts involving many young students, most of them female.
Berndt is facing allegations that he put young students in bondage and then photographed them with semen-filled spoons held at their mouths and 3-inch cockroaches crawling across their faces, reports CNN. He has pleaded not guilty and currently awaits trial.
He was reportedly discovered when he brought photos of the children being abused to a drugstore to be developed.
The $27 million in settlements have only covered 58 of the 191 lawsuits that were prompted by the case. This comes out to approximately $470,000 per lawsuit thus far.
There were 23 alleged victims between the ages of 7 and 10 and all but two of them were girls, reports the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
The news story reports that the plaintiffs’ attorneys couldn’t say for certain whether any of the 23 alleged victims in the criminal case are among the 58 who have received civil settlements.
Berndt is currently being held on $23 million bail, one million for each of the children he allegedly tied up or fed cockroaches or semen, reports TruTv.
He faces 23 felony counts of lewd acts on a child.
By Trevor TenBrink at EAGnews.org
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