Green Room

Second teacher from LA elementary school identified as child molester

posted at 12:31 pm on February 8, 2012 by

When elementary school teacher Mark Berndt was arrested for sex crimes that included feeding his students his own semen, it was reported in this space that police suspected additional victims might turn up. It appears they should have been looking for additional villains. ABC News reports:

Prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed lewd-acts charges against a second teacher for allegedly fondling at least one student at the beleaguered Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles.

Martin Springer was charged Tuesday with committing three counts of committing lewd acts on one girl, according to the Los Angeles Times, which reported that a law enforcement officer said that a second girl recanted her accusation against the teacher.

This time, the Los Angeles Unified School District took quick and decisive action and fired Springer. They also took the additional (some will say disproportionate) step of transferring out the school’s entire 128-person staff and transferring in teachers who had been laid off.

The district also reports by way of assurances to parents, who are understandably vexed, that they will check “fingerprints, backgrounds and personnel files of those individuals who are interested in coming back to temporarily teach … to ensure that they have no record of inappropriate behavior with children.” But does that suggest that such checks were not run initially, and if so why?

Another question that cries out for an answer is why suddenly accounts of pedophiliac teachers are coming out of the woodwork. The same day the story about Springer broke, the New York Post reported that a teacher’s aide at a school in Brooklyn was arrested by the FBI for the second time in two weeks for “offenses linked to illegally possessing films of underage children engaged in sexual acts.” Taleek Brooks was charged this time with making pornographic videos of students he was assaulting.

The warning signs of child predators are well-documented. Usually perverts are males who appear to be hard-working and family-oriented and—this may be key—among the most popular teachers in school. Are school administrators ignoring the signs because of the stigma associated with profiling? Or are they just uniformly bad at the jobs they are paid, often lucratively, to do?

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However, let’s look at the flip side on this story. Apparently one of the two accusers of the second teacher at Miramonte has recanted the accusations — something that leads me to look askance at the charges that were filed based upon the other accuser — after all, if the cops and district were so quick to put out a press release with this guy, how sure can we be about the entire investigation. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/girl-who-accused-miramonte-teacher-of-abuse-recants-her-story.html

This does not, of course, negate the truly disturbing charges about the first teacher.

RhymesWithRight on February 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Usually perverts are males who appear to be hard-working and family-oriented and—this may be key—among the most popular teachers in school.

This is how they weed out the perverts, by only hiring progressive liberal lazy good for nothings that have no kids in the system who are also repugnant and offensive. It is for the children!!!!

astonerii on February 8, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Well, you know what they say… good help is hard to find!

Marcola on February 8, 2012 at 1:14 PM

This would be a good time to remind the HA community that according to a U.S. Department of Education study, “The figures suggest “the physical sexual abuse of students in [public] schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by [Catholic] priests…” (Ann Coulter wrote about this, and concluded that even under the most sunny interpretation of the stats, the ratio is still no better than 30:1)

VastRightWingConspirator on February 8, 2012 at 2:39 PM

Usually perverts are males who appear to be hard-working and family-oriented and—this may be key—among the most popular teachers in school.

Astonerii beat me to it…Howard, do you have any evidence to back this claim up?

iwasbornwithit on February 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM

iwasbornwithit on February 8, 2012 at 3:24 PM

I culled the description from a variety of sources, but it sounds as though you’ve made your mind up.

Howard Portnoy on February 8, 2012 at 3:43 PM

As a teacher you find a way to deal with unsupportive parents, undermining administrators, and unmotivated students. When stuff like this comes out, you really want to throw in the towel.

teacherman on February 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM

When stuff like this comes out, you really want to throw in the towel.

teacherman on February 8, 2012 at 3:49 PM

Just so long as you don’t throw off the towel …

AesopFan on February 8, 2012 at 7:17 PM

First off, being charged with a crime is very different than being convicted of a crime. Why not calm down a bit, take a breath, and wait for some facts to come out?? Instead you decided it is better to villify anyone who is male (um, there have also been some very notable cases of FEmale teachers sexually abusing kids) and popular, with a sense of family……so, in the “interests of the children” we want to instill a sense of fear in the very segment of society we want influencing our kids?!?!

Secondly, the constant brainwashing we receive each day revolving around sexual abuse is out of control. Does it happen? Sure. Is it necessary to freak out and be suspicious of every person in the community??? I hardly think so.

KMC1 on February 9, 2012 at 12:18 AM

The problem isn’t predators, who are always going to target children by becoming teachers. The problem is a unionized school system designed to protect teachers and ignore students and parents.

Just try to complain about a teacher for the most trivial of reasons and see the entire school close ranks. Teachers are ferociously protected and they have a unionized “victim” mentality. The administration and structure of public schools is designed to hide bad teachers and keep them employed.

When those bad teachers are also sexual predators, well, they get protected too. That’s the unionized system for you.

bonnie_ on February 9, 2012 at 10:06 AM

However, let’s look at the flip side on this story. Apparently one of the two accusers of the second teacher at Miramonte has recanted the accusations — something that leads me to look askance at the charges that were filed based upon the other accuser — after all, if the cops and district were so quick to put out a press release with this guy, how sure can we be about the entire investigation. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/02/girl-who-accused-miramonte-teacher-of-abuse-recants-her-story.html

This does not, of course, negate the truly disturbing charges about the first teacher.

RhymesWithRight on February 8, 2012 at 12:51 PM

According to KFI-AM (Los Angeles) reporter Eric Leonard, the word “recant” is legalistic and not applicable in the classic sense as yet. What sources have told him is that in a second interview, the Springer accuser in question gave what were determined to be inconsistent accounts of her initial accusations. Leonard says that the LEOs want to be careful not to overcharge the case as it is just starting to look like a can of worms. They are treading very carefully to avoid this becoming a McMartin Pre-School situation, where stories of molestation grew increasingly outrageous (naked teachers roaming the classroom as if in an orgy, tunnels underneath the building where children were shuttled off to be abused by another roomful of adults, etc.). Of course, that entire case fell apart under the weight of such imaginative but untrue tales.

L.N. Smithee on February 9, 2012 at 1:04 PM

The problem isn’t predators, who are always going to target children by becoming teachers. The problem is a unionized school system designed to protect teachers and ignore students and parents.

Just try to complain about a teacher for the most trivial of reasons and see the entire school close ranks. Teachers are ferociously protected and they have a unionized “victim” mentality. The administration and structure of public schools is designed to hide bad teachers and keep them employed.

When those bad teachers are also sexual predators, well, they get protected too. That’s the unionized system for you.

bonnie_ on February 9, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Amen, sister. That’s because unions encourage cultish behavior, or the same loyalty that mobsters’ families demand. Powerful forces are out to get them 24/7, and the only way is to protect each other at all cost and by any means deemed necessary. Non-related people united in purpose are encouraged to treat each other like family and to always do its bidding under the threat being shunned. The determination to enforce that isolation runs very deep; now-retired Boston Red Sox third baseman Kevin Millar, a key player in the team’s historic World Series win in 2004, is still a non-entity among some players well below his caliber because he crossed a MLB Players Association picket line in 1994.

It’s difficult for me to ask my union member friends about their workplace disputes because they always become angry parrots thoughtlessly regurgitating union propaganda. One of the nicest guys I know — a retired employee for a company with a long-standing contract with the City of San Francisco — often flashes his card signifying he is a retired Teamster, joking that he’s a member of the Mafia.

L.N. Smithee on February 9, 2012 at 1:37 PM