Shocking School Sex Abuse Accusations

February 16, 2012
It's the shocking sex abuse scandal that's taken the nation by storm: Two former teachers at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles stand accused of committing lewd acts against their students. According to investigators, hundreds of disturbing photographs have been seized, at least two dozen students, ages 7 to 10, have come forward and dozens more may have been victimized in crimes that are said to have gone undetected for years. Sixty-one-year-old third-grade teacher Mark Berndt is facing 23 counts of lewd conduct against children and is being held on $23 million bail for his alleged crimes, which include blindfolding, gagging and putting cockroaches on and feeding them cookies laced with his semen. Since his arrest, an additional claim has surfaced against teacher Martin Springer for allegedly fondling a second-grader. How could this happen? How was it concealed for so long? And, what warning signs were missed?

Warning: This episode contains disturbing and sexually explicit content. Viewer discretion advised.

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A Stolen Trust?
Nicole's daughter, Isabelle, was a student at Miramonte Elementary school. Through tears, Nicole shares how she believes her daughter was victimized by Mr. Berndt. Then, Brian Claypool, attorney for seven families involved in the case, explains when the allegations started and how they came to light.


“She thought because she was a good helper, he wanted to take pictures of her.”



Alleged Victims
With their identities concealed to protect their privacy, Miramonte students Carmen, 11, and Isabelle, 10, open up to Dr. Phil about what they saw.




“In my heart, I felt that something was wrong.”



"Our Old Teacher"
Andy and Dianna were students of Mr. Springer and Mr. Berndt a decade ago, and say they recall what they believe was inappropriate behavior even then. What do they remember?




“Mr. Berndt’s took advantage of the trust of his students by tricking them for his own selfish and dirty fantasies.”



The Experts
CBS reporter Suraya Fadel, attorney and child advocate Areva Martin and safe school advocate Barbara-Jane Paris weigh in on the scandal. Could more have been done? And, what safeguards are in place at our schools? Plus, learn how to protect your children from those who are supposed to protect them.


“In the end, it comes down to one pivotal question: How well do you know the adults that you’re turning your kids over to?”