Ex-LA teacher charged with molesting 23 children

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LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A former Los Angeles elementary school teacher has been arrested after he allegedly gagged and made bondage photos of nearly two dozen children -- possibly inside a classroom.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department says 61-year-old Mark Berndt was arrested at his Torrance home on Monday. He is jailed Tuesday on $2.3 million bail.

He's been charged with committing lewd acts with 23 boys and girls ages 7 to 10.

Berndt worked for more than 30 years at Miramonte Elementary School in unincorporated area of south Los Angeles. He's been fired.

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