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LA Teacher in Child Bondage Case Suspected Earlier of Lewd Acts

Creatas Images/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) -- There was new outrage Thursday over a report that a Los Angeles elementary school teacher accused of committing lewd acts on children was previously investigated nearly 20 years ago.

Mark Berndt, 61, is being held on $23 million bail for allegedly abusing 23 students, ages 7 to 10, between 2008 and 2010.

Berndt, who taught third grade at Miramonte Elementary School in south Los Angeles, was fired from his job in January 2011 and arrested this past week.

Investigators now reveal that Berndt was investigated in 1993 over an unspecified matter but the district attorney in the case decided not to pursue a case against the teacher, saying, "A prosecutor cannot ethically file criminal charges if the evidence fails to meet the standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt."

Still, that has many wondering what Berndt was allegedly up to then and if he should have ever been allowed to teach children.

According to at least one published report, investigators were looking into an accusation that Berndt had fondled a 10-year-old girl.

Meanwhile, The Los Angeles Times says that two women who were students of Berndt 20 years ago told school administrators at the time that they believed the teacher was fondling himself in the classroom.

The current case against Berndt began in October 2010 when a drugstore photo processor turned over photos he said were from the teacher that showed children blindfolded and gagged.

While Berndt was removed from the classroom in January 2010, there are questions why it took a year to file charges.

It's alleged that the teacher fed children spoonfuls of his semen among other lewd acts.  The youngsters were not aware they were being victimized, according to prosecutors.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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