The bail number for the Los Angeles teacher accused of gagging and blindfolding his students increased to $23 million, 1 million for each count, according to an LA Times article posted Wednesday.
Mark Berndt, 61, a longtime teacher at Miramonte Elementary in South L.A. has been charged with 23 counts of lewd acts against children. His arraignment is set for February 21.
At his Wednesday hearing he appeared alongside his court appointed attorney Liz Braunstein. He spoke only to acknowledge the superior court judge.
L.A. district attorney's office spokeswoman Sandi Gibbons said that the former teacher faces a sentence of life in prison without parole if he is convicted. Additionally, She said there may be additional victims, including some who were not his students.
Since Berndt's initial arrest 5 more victims have come forward to investigators with new allegations.
Authorities reported that Berndt frequently told his students that they were going to play a "tasting game." Whereupon the children were blindfolded and in some case gagged with tape. He then would feed the children spoonfuls of a white substance that DNA testing has since revealed was his semen. The children would then tell their teacher whether the spoonful tasted sweet or salty.
In addition, a victim's father said that his son was photographed eating a cookie that he believed was filled with Berndts's semen.
This case has to scare every parent who has kids in school. The type of allegations and the sheer number of them are both absolutely appalling. Accordingly, I do not see any fathomable scenario where a jury will allow this twisted individual to walk the streets again.
However, no matter how heinous the allegations are Berndt is still entitled to a fair trial, a right that every American citizen is guaranteed by the constitution. Even though it probably won't do him any good.
What do you think?
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