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Teacher From Miramonte Elementary Pleads Not Guilty To Lewd Acts On A Child

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LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The second teacher charged with committing lewd acts on a child at Miramonte Elementary School has pleaded not guilty.

Martin Springer, 49, has been charged with three felony counts of lewd acts upon a child following his arrest Friday.

Springer’s charges stem from allegedly fondling a former female student between April and June of 2009. Initial allegations surfaced last week that he had fondled two girls under the age of 14, however Tuesday’s charges only reflect incidents involving one of the victims.

Springer was fired Tuesday in a special Los Angeles Unified School Board meeting. He has 30 days to repeal the board’s unanimous decision, according to the district.

The defendant’s bail was initially placed at $2 million, but prosecutors had it adjusted to $300,000 during the arraignment. He’s due back in court Feb. 16, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial.

Fellow Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, a 30-year Los Angeles Unified School District veteran, was arrested Jan. 30 and charged with 23 counts of lewd acts on a child.

Berndt, 61, reportedly took an estimated 300 photos of students bound, gagged and blindfolded in his classroom between 2008 and 2010. Some photos show cockroaches being placed on the students’ faces. Others are being fed a milky-white substance on a spoon that lab tests confirm tested positive for the teacher’s DNA.

He was removed from the classroom in January 2011. Berndt left the district in March of that year.

Miramonte Elementary School was closed Tuesday and Wednesday while the LAUSD and the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department conducted separate investigations. The staff will reportedly continued to be paid but will be relocated to Augustus Hawkins High School in South L.A., a school that has not finished being built.

RELATED STORY:

» LAUSD Shuts Down Miramonte Elementary School For 2 Days

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