It’s on the front cover of the Los Angeles Times. And the reporters, Scott Gold, Richard Winton and Paloma Esquivel, wrote this horrifying lede: In the fall of 2010, a drugstore photo technician was running a batch of 35-millimetre film when a disturbing image tumbled out of the machine — a child, blindfolded with a white cloth and gagged with clear packing tape. From that first photograph, detectives spent the next year following a trail that led them to a South Los Angeles elementary school.
They say they found acts of staggering depravity.
Elementary school teacher Mark Berndt, 61, had apparently been playing a long-running “game” with his students.
[He] regularly told his students that they were going to play a “tasting game,” in which children were blindfolded and, in some cases, gagged with tape, authorities say. The semen appears to have been ingested by the children on a blue plastic spoon and, according to one alleged victim’s father, on cookies.
The alleged victims were boys and girls ages 7 to 10.
But that’s not the end of it.
Brendt reportedly put a gigantic cockroach on his student’s faces and in their mouths. And he did things like this for at least half a decade.
Miramonte elementary school, where the abuse allegedly took place–in the classroom–is one of the poorest in Los Angelas. Brendt was arrested on Monday night.
Investigators put the school in an extremely difficult spot while they looked into the case. They didn’t want officials to “contaminate” the witnesses, or alert Brendt. School officials have been aware of the investigation since last year. They removed him from the classroom immediately, and he resigned later that year.
Read the whole sickening and sad story at the L.A. Times.
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