Ex-Miramonte Teacher Could Face More Charges | NBC Southern California

Complete coverage of the sexual abuse scandal at a South Los Angeles elementary school

Ex-Miramonte Teacher Could Face More Charges

Mark Berndt is already facing 23 counts of lewd conduct involving students

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    Former LAUSD teacher Mark Berndt, who is accused of sexually abusing students at Miramonte Elementary School, sits with his defense attorney, Manny Medrano, during a court hearing in Downtown LA on Feb. 6, 2013.

    After a year in custody on accusations he sexually abusing his students, former LAUSD teacher Mark Berndt has been put on notice he may face more charges.

    Berndt is already facing 23 counts of lewd conduct related to the student abuse scandal at Miramonte Elementary School.

    Authorities arrested Berndt in February 2012 after the discovery of incriminating photographs that, according to investigators, showed Berndt feeding students cookies topped with his bodily fluids.

    After his arrest, sheriff's investigators disclosed they had come across more photos of additional children, which first raised the possibility of additional counts.

    At a court hearing in Downtown LA on Wednesday, prosecutors said they expected to make a decision by Berndt's next court appearance in April. However, they declined to comment on how many additional counts they are considering or why the uncertainty has lasted so long.

    "The prosecution and law enforcement have had a significant chunk of time to get their ducks in a row," defense attorney Manny Medrano said. "I'd be surprised if there's additional charges, but if there are we'll be ready to aggressively defend against them."

    Berndt remains in custody on $26 million bail.

    At the judge's request, prosecutors will consider the possibility of offering Berndt a plea agreement, even as they consider filing more charges against him.

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