The Los Angeles Criminal Law Blog

Miramonte Sex Scandal: Allegations Fly against More Suspects

Although too horrible to imagine, could there be more people implicated in the Miramonte Elementary sex scandal?

An attorney for three of the alleged victims had claimed that a third, female teacher aided and abetted Mark Berndt in committing lewd acts with his students, reports ABC News. However, investigators recently concluded she was not a suspect. In addition, a fourth person - a teacher’s aide - is being accused of sending a student love letters in 2009.

The sex abuse allegations have been flying since Berndt was arrested on suspicion of committing unthinkable acts upon his students, such as spooning them his semen and taking photographs of their bound bodies covered in cockroaches.

A second teacher, Martin Bernard Springer, was arrested three days later after two female students reportedly told police that he fondled them. Since they came forward, however, one of the students has recanted her claim, according to ABC News.

The newest allegation comes from the mother of a former Miramonte Elementary School student who accused teacher’s aide Areceli Luisjuan of sending her fourth grade son inappropriate letters. The Los Angeles Unified School District confirmed that Luisjuan was investigated for the incident and was later fired, according to ABC News.

Luisjuan reportedly wrote in one of the letters: “When you get close to me, even if you give me the chills I like that. Don’t tell nobody about this!”

In the face of the mounting allegations and uproar by students’ parents, the school has reportedly interrogated and replaced its entire faculty.

Given the severity of the allegations - committing lewd acts on a child under the age of 14 is a felony under California law - it’s important to remember that suspects are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The accusations coming out of Miramonte Elementary School seems to be reaching a fever pitch, and it will likely get worse before any resolutions occur.

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