- - Tuesday, January 31, 2012

CALIFORNIA

Teacher charged with molesting 23 kids

LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles elementary school teacher was charged with committing lewd acts against nearly two dozen students after a film processor gave authorities bondage-style photographs showing children in blindfolds with their mouths taped, and some with cockroaches on their faces, authorities said Tuesday.

Mark Berndt, 61, was arrested Monday at his Torrance home and remained jailed on $2.3 million bail, according to a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department statement.

The charges involve 23 boys and girls ages 7 to 10 between 2008 and 2010.

The investigation started when the film processor gave authorities some 40 photographs depicting blindfolded children in a classroom with their mouths taped shut.

Mr. Berndt worked for more than 30 years at Miramonte Elementary School in an unincorporated area of South Los Angeles before being fired as a result of the investigation.

NEW YORK

World Trade Center design flaw could cost millions

NEW YORK — The agency building the new World Trade Center says a design flaw could cost it millions of dollars.

The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said Tuesday the loading dock under One World Trade Center won’t be finished in time for tenants to move their equipment into the 104-story tower. So it’s building five temporary loading bays aboveground.

The problem is a result of a temporary station that was built for the Port Authority Trans-Hudson subway. That station can’t be dismantled to make way for underground freight areas until crews finish the permanent station.

“Several years there was a design miss,” said Patrick Foye, executive director of the Port Authority, “Should it have been caught? The answer is, probably.”

The temporary loading bays will add millions to the cost of One World Trade Center. The Wall Street Journal on Monday reported that the cost of the building has soared to $3.8 billion, $700 million more than the last publicly released estimate in 2008.

Mr. Foye said the soaring costs will be examined in a review of the agency that is being prepared for the governors of New York and New Jersey. He would not confirm the $3.8 billion figure.

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