Parents are overwhelmed with emotion as authorities admit the LA teacher accused of taking bondage-style photos of his students and spoon-feeding them semen also tried to fondle a child in 1994.
The Associated Press reports Mark Berndt, 61, appeared in court on Wednesday to face 23 lewd act charges, some with children as young as 6. His bail was raised to $2.3 million.
Parents are still trying to comprehend how the school, Miramonte Elementary, failed to tell them about the allegations for almost a year after he was removed from his position.
"My concern is why, if the principal knew this in advance, why didn't he inform us?" said Gloria Polanco, the mother of a second- and a third-grader, to the AP. "How long has he been doing this?"
Berndt worked at Miramonte for more than 30 years. According to the AP, local authorities said they recommended that prosecutors pursue a lewd act charge back in 1994 when he was accused of reaching for a young girl's genitals during class. However, the case wasn't pursued due to "lack of evidence."
Prosecutors maintain that over the past two years, Berndt took pictures of his students with blindfolds, taped their mouths and fed them semen. Miramonte officials said they did not inform parents right away because of the investigation.
"You don't know what kind of diseases this man has," mother Kimberly Kirklan told CBS. "You don't know any history about this man. And you're taking our innocent babies and you're basically tainting them."
(The Associated Press contributed to this report)