Former students speak of odd teacher behavior

LINDA DEUTSCH AP Special Correspondent Published:

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Two former students of a Los Angeles teacher suspected of photographing children for sexual thrills say school officials were told about his odd behavior two decades ago.

Marlene Trujillo (troo-HEE'-oh) was a fourth-grader in Mark Berndt's class in the early 1990s. She told the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/yo4M8P) that he often moved his hands under his desk, near his lap at the front of the classroom.

She says she and two other students spoke to a school counselor about the behavior and they were told "it's not very good to make up stories" and that it was their imagination.

Trujillo says another classmate told her mother about Berndt's strange behavior, but her mother didn't take it seriously enough to report to school officials.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com