One student who accused teacher Martin Bernard Springer of inappropriate touching has recanted her story, according to a report by the Los Angeles Times. This news comes on the same day that the Los Angeles Unified School District Board voted unanimously to terminate him.
Law enforcement sources explained to the LA Times that charges filed against Springer on Tuesday involve only one alleged victim, and it's because the other girl has changed her story in the past few days.
Springer was arrested last Friday after two parents came forward to claim that he had fondled 7-and 8-year-old girls at Miramonte Elementary during the past three years. In court on Tuesday, he pleaded not guilty after being charged with committing lewd acts with one student in 2009. Judge Upinder Kalra set bail at $300,000 and directed that he wear an ankle monitoring device if released.
Springer is a veteran Miramonte teacher who began his career there in 1986. Within the Los Angeles Unified School District, he's only ever taught at Miramonte Elementary.
Springer was arrested four days after police arrested former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt. Berndt was arrested after a year-long investigation into lewd acts he allegedly committed upon dozens of students. Key to the criminal investigation against Berndt is more than 600 photos that depict children bound, gagged, with cockroaches on their faces or about to eat a cookie that police say is covered with Berndt's semen. Investigators claim that they've linked Berndt's DNA to a spoon found in a classroom trash can; there are allegations that Berndt also spoon-fed his semen to children.
Meanwhile, a third teacher at Miramonte Elementary school has been implicated in the sex abuse scandal. Brian Claypool, a lawyer for families of alleged victims, claims that a female teacher helped Berndt in carrying out lewd acts. "They had adjoining classrooms, and he'd come in every other day in the middle of the day, and he'd go up to her and whisper in her ear. She'd start giggling and then pick out two pretty girls and walk them over to the door," Claypool told New York Daily News. Claypool's claims have not been confirmed or substantiated by investigators.
Watch NBC Los Angeles' video report on Brian Claypool's claims and read more here.
View more videos at: http://nbclosangeles.com.
UPDATE: This news story was updated to reflect an additional 200 photos belonging to Mark Berndt. The number of photos that investigators are examining in the case against Mark Berndt is now up to 600.
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