Mark Berndt, Teacher, Allegedly Spoon-Fed Semen To Students (VIDEO)
Mark Berndt, a 61-year-old former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School, has been charged with 23 counts of committing lewd acts on children with authorities alleging he spoon-fed semen to his students, the Los Angeles Times reports.
According to the Times, Berndt told his students they were going to play "a tasting game," during which each were blindfolded and sometimes gagged with tape.
Authorities, as well as at least one parent, also alleged semen was fed to students on cookies and on a blue plastic spoon.
Local station KTLA reports the investigation started when a photo processor alerted authorities to photos of Berndt's which allegedly showed acts of bondage as well as the spoon-feeding.
In total, police report there are 23 male and female alleged victims, all ranging in age from 7 to 10-years-old. They also report the crimes took place between 2008 and 2010.
Debra Harmon, mother of a first grader at the school, told CBS she is shocked by the allegations.
"It is an outrage for something like this to go on in our school undetected," Harmon told the station.
School officials removed Berndt from his position back in March, and he was also put under police surveillance to keep him away from children while authorities built their case.
When investigators searched his classroom, CBS reports they found DNA evidence linking him to sexual crimes against the 23 children.
Kimberly Kirklan, parent of three daughters, told CBS she worries for the health of the children.
"You don't know what kind of diseases this man has," Kirklan told the station. "You don't know any history about this man. And you're taking our innocent babies and you're basically tainting them."
Berndt's bail has been set at $23 million. If convicted, he could face life in prison.