Berndt Pleads No Contest to 23 Counts of Child Molestation in Los Angeles Superior Court
LOS ANGELES, California (Nov. 15, 2013) – Former Miramonte Elementary School Teacher Mark Berndt, 62, plead no contest to charges that he sexually molested 23 children over a five-year period and was sentenced to 25 years in state prison in a plea deal, according to Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey.
“Justice prevails for the victims of this former teacher as they are now able to move on with their lives without fear this will happen to anyone else,” said Attorney West Seegmiller, a Los Angeles personal injury attorney.
Superior Court Judge George G. Lomeli announced the sentencing Friday and noted that the plea deal was negotiated in an effort to avoid a trial that would further victimize the school children.
Berndt, a 30-year veteran teacher with the Florence, California elementary school, was convicted of 23 counts of performing a lewd act upon a child under 14 years of age. His victims were described as 22 girls and one boy ages of 7 to 10 years old, the report said.
“A school ought to be one of the safest places in America,” said District Attorney Lacey in a press release. “This plea spares these young victims the anguish of testifying at a trial and sends an unmistakable message to those who would dare take advantage of our children that justice will prevail.”
The conviction comes after an intensive investigation that began in 2010 following the discovery of lewd photographs of Berndt’s victims by a film processing company. The children were photographed in their classroom with blindfolds covering their eyes and duct tape over their mouths. Police arrested Berndt on Jan. 30, 2013 and has been in custody since the arrest.
–The Seegmiller Law Firm, a Los Angeles personal injury law firm