LA School Scandal: 2nd Teacher Charged, Fired by Board

Complaints have been filed against another teacher at Miramonte Elementary.

February 08, 2012, 4:19 AM

Feb. 8, 2012— -- Prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed lewd-acts charges against a second teacher for allegedly fondling at least one student at the beleaguered Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles.

Martin Springer was charged Tuesday with committing three counts of committing lewd acts on one girl, according to the Los Angeles Times, which reported that a law enforcement officer said that a second girl recanted her accusation against the teacher.

Bail for Springer was reportedly set at $300,000, while the judge said that the 49-year-old will be forced to wear an ankle monitoring device if released.

Tom Waldman, spokesman for the Los Angeles Unified School District told The Associated Press that the board voted unanimously to terminate Springer. He has 30 days to appeal the decision.

LAUSDA Superintendent John Deasy took a controversial step after Springer was arrested along with fellow teacher Mark Berndt when earlier this week he had the school's 128-person staff temporarily transferred out of the school for the remainder of the winter track.

Berndt was arrested after a year-long investigation after he allegedly committed lewd acts with 23 children aged 6-10 between 2005 and 2010, which allegedly included feeding the students cookies with his semen on them and taking pictures of students blindfolded with cockroaches in their faces.

Attorney Keith Davidson, who is representing one of the young clients in the case against Berndt, said that the student kept photos given to him by his teacher.

"They were souvenirs of this lesson on the sense of taste," Davidson said. "I've seen pictures of my clients, boys, bound, with their hands behind their back."

The district has now contacted former teachers and staff members who had been laid off during budget cuts to come back and temporarily teach at the school.

The school district is checking fingerprints, backgrounds and personnel files of those individuals who are interested in coming back to temporarily teach at Miramonte to ensure that they have no record of inappropriate behavior with children, Ramos said.

The school is expected to reopen to students on Thursday.

The current Miramonte staff will go to a non-operational school facility and undergo interviews with administrators and investigators.

Lawyer Brian Claypool told ABC News that he has identified a female teacher who would allegedly bring little girls to Berndt to be victimized.

"I reported to the L.A. County Sheriff's Special Victims Unit a new teacher who I believe patently aided and abetted the abuse Berndt was carrying out," Claypool told

Claypool said his accusation has come from conversations with at least three students or former students who said the other female teacher had a role in the alleged crimes.

"She was a teacher who would escort little girls into Berndt's classroom when he was all alone. Berndt would come over in the middle of day, whisper in her ear, and they would giggle, and then teacher would pick out two girls, escort them through a common door, so that they were stuck with a pedophile in this classroom. And that's where he was blindfolding them and spoon feeding them semen," he said.

Miramonte Elementary Has History of Student Sex Abuse

The troubled elementary school in Los Angeles' Huntington Park neighborhood has already seen allegations of child sexual assault in the past decade.

Teacher's aide Ricardo Guevara is currently serving out a 15-year sentence after he was found guilty of fondling three kindergarten girls in 2003 while working at the school, according to ABC News affiliate KABC.

Los Angeles Unified School District was ordered in 2008 to pay Guevara's victims a $1.6 million settlement.

Attorney Keith Davidson, who is representing one of the alleged victims of Berndt, also worked on the case against Guevara.

"You would think that after this prior allegation Miramonte would be the safest school in the country," Davidson told KABC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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