Teacher to plead no contest in lewd ‘tasting game’

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LOS ANGELES (AP) – A former Los Angeles elementary school teacher has agreed to plead no contest to molestation charges involving more than 20 students.

Mark Berndt is accused of blindfolding children and spoon-feeding them cookies laced with his semen in what he called “tasting games.”

A source close to the case said Berndt plans to enter the legal equivalent of guilty pleas to 23 charges at a hearing Friday. The source spoke only on condition of anonymity because the hearing is pending.

The plea agreement, first reported by the Daily News of Los Angeles, calls for Berndt to be sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Parents filed suit against Los Angeles Unified School District for failing to protect their children from Berndt. Settlements have cost the district tens of millions.

(Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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