School Closing for 2 Days Over Sex Assault Arrests

Mark Berndt and Martin Springer arrested within days of each other
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 6, 2012 8:36 AM CST
In this Tuesday, Jan. 31,2012 file photo police are seen at the the Miramonte Elementary school in Los Angeles.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)
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(Newser) – Miramonte Elementary School students won't be going to class tomorrow or the next day, after two longtime teachers were arrested last week on suspicion of sexually abusing students as young as six. Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy is meeting with parents at a local high school tonight to discuss the situation, the AP reports. Classes have been canceled for the next two days for reasons related to the investigation, a district spokesperson says.

Mark Berndt, 61, was first arrested for lewd acts including allegedly feeding children his own semen. Four days later Martin Springer, 49, was arrested on suspicion of allegedly fondling two girls. Investigators aren't aware of any connection between the cases, but detectives believe one little girl was a victim of both teachers. Questions are being raised about how much officials were aware of, the Los Angeles Times reports: Two students told a school counselor they may have seen Berndt masturbating behind his desk in the early 1990s, and the teacher was also investigated in 1994 for allegedly trying to touch a girl's genitals. An internal investigation has been launched. (Read more Mark Berndt stories.)

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