Police have found 200 more student bondage photos allegedly taken by Los Angeles school teacher Mark Brendt, who is accused of sexually abusing elementary school students.
Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Sgt. Dan Scott said today that the pictures were much like the first 200 collected by authorities in the year-long investigation into Berndt, but at least 25 more students from Miramonte Elementary School are depicted in the pictures.
Investigators are trying to identify the 25 students.
The initial batch of photos showed children blindfolded, with cockroaches on their faces and spoons full of semen in front of their mouths.
The new pictures were found in a Los Angeles pharmacy's photo printing database.
Berndt's arrest last week sparked a ripple-effect of child sex allegations against other current and former teachers. Martin Springer was arrested four days after Berndt and charged with molesting a female student. A second student who had accused Springer later recanted her claim.
An attorney for three of the alleged victims, Brian Claypool, said Monday that a third teacher, a female, had helped deliver students into Berndt's classroom to be abused. Sgt. Scott said investigators interviewed the woman, who was cooperative, and concluded she was not a suspect.
Today, the mother of a former Miramonte Elementary School student told the Los Angeles Times that her fourth grade son was the recipient of inappropriate love letters by a teacher's aide in 2009.
The Los Angeles Unified School District confirmed to ABC News today that Areceli Luisjuan, a teacher's aide, was investigated for writing the letters to the boy in 2009. A spokeswoman for the district said that Luisjuan had since been fired, but did not specify when the firing occurred.
Luisjuan, who is described by the Los Angeles Times as a woman in her fifties, allegedly wrote that she liked it when the boy put his arm around her and was sad when she was transferred to another school because she would not be able to see him anymore.
In one of her three letters, the aide wrote, "When you get close to me, even if you give me the chills I like that. Don't tell nobody about this!"
The mother of the boy spoke anonymously to the LA Times, telling the paper that she had brought the letters to Miramonte Elementary School administrators and was told she was making up stories. She took the letters to the Los Angeles Sheriff's department, but was told to take up the issue with the school, according to the Times.
Luisjuan was not able to be reached for this story.
The school has been closed Tuesday and today as its entire faculty is being replaced and interrogated by school officials. The school will reopen Thursday.
An attorney representing alleged victims said the school had a systemic problem of abuse because of teachers who preyed on children of single-family homes.
The lawyer, Keith Davidson, is representing three victims in the case against Berndt. He previously represented three kindergarten-aged students from Miramonte who pressed charges against Ricardo Guevera, a teacher who was convicted of molesting the girls and sentenced to 15 years to life in prison.
Davidson said that in his previous case, Guevera told at least one little girl who was from a single-parent home that he could show her what it was like to have a father.
"Evidence in the Guevera case was introduced that Guevera targeted female kindergarten students who lived in a single mother home. He manipulated them by attempting to be their father figure," Davidson said.
The comments mirror the allegations of current victims represented by Claypool, who said that Berndt tried to lure one female student to his home by saying he could be her second father.
Davidson noted that in a civil suit brought against Guevera, the school district and Miramonte, the plaintiffs were awarded $1.5 million.
"You would think after the prior allegations, and civil judgments in excess of $1.5 million, you would expect Miramonte to be the safest school in the country. In fact it's just the opposite," he said.