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In Miramonte, questions amid a sense of betrayal

In Miramonte, questions amid a sense of betrayal: How did teacher's alleged crimes persist? By The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) ' Mr. Berndt's third-grade classroom was up on the second floor, tucked away at the rear of Miramonte Elementary School, its windows looking out onto a playground.

When he locked the door, the classroom became a private sanctum where authorities allege that the 61-year-old teacher spoon-fed his semen to blindfolded children in a bizarre sexual game he documented in photographs.

That room's secluded location may help explain why Mark Berndt's "tasting game," as he called it, wasn't detected sooner. But a crucial question remains: Why didn't the children, and possibly their parents, tell anyone during a period spanning from 2005 to 2010?

"I'm in such shock," Miguel Lopez, father of one of Berndt's former pupils, said this week as he stood outside the school. "How could this happen?"

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