A Los Angeles elementary school teacher was accused of abusing students when suspicious photos were passed to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, according to ABC News.
Mark Berndt, a teacher with over 30 years of experience in teaching, was arrested with a charge of molesting 23 students, according to a statement from the Sheriff's Department, ABC News reported. Berndt abused his students during class time and "disguised it as a game", Dan Scott, sheriff's Sgt. told the Los Angeles Times.
The department discovered photos from a photo processing facility and Berndt's home showing students bound and blindfolded, and some with large Madagascar cockroaches on their faces, Scott told the Los Angeles Times. Some photos showed female students being forced a blue plastic spoon holding white liquid in front of their mouths, ABC News reported. Police determined the white liquid was Berndt's semen.
Parents and teachers were furious about the arrest.
John Deasy, Los Angeles schools Supt., told the Los Angeles Times in a statement Tuesday he "[found] it disgusting" and "reprehensible" for a teacher to violate parents' and children's trust. He said the school district was aware of the accusation on Jan. 7, 2011, and removed Berndt from the classroom the same day. Berndt was terminated by the district at their next meeting.
"This is an unfortunate incident that has occurred at our school, and I'd like to express my deepest sympathies to the families of those victims," Martin Sandoval, principal at the elementary school, told ABC News.