Others were blindfolded or had clear tape over their mouths, and some were given sperm-laced cookies to eat as treats in the photo sessions that were treated like games, Scott said.
Some of Berndt’s students defended him, saying he was a kind and generous teacher.
Angelica Zuniga, a 16-year-old high school junior, was in third grade in 2003 when she had Berndt as a teacher. She said he never asked her or others to do anything strange or to play any inappropriate games.
“They’re calling him ‘monster.’ He’s just not that kind of person,” Angelica said. “He was one of the most amazing teachers out there. He’s dedicated his life to us, and I want to stick up for him.”
The latest investigation of Berndt began last fall when a film processor became suspicious about the photographs and turned them over to Redondo Beach police, who on Dec. 2 handed them over to the sheriff's department, Scott said.
The case also prompted Deasy to fire a high school teacher who is being sued over allegations he had sex with students. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that Vance Miller, 59, was pulled from his Hamilton High School classroom in 2010, before Deasy became superintendent.
A police investigation didn’t result in criminal charges. But two former students, now adults, said the music teacher had sex with them while they were students at Hamilton. Deasy reviewed the case this week and decided there was enough information to fire Miller, who has been paid since his removal.
• Associated Press writers Christina Hoag, Greg Risling and Raquel Maria Dillon contributed to this report.
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