Civil cases could hamper LA molestation probe

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Associated Press

Posted on February 18, 2012 at 6:01 PM

Updated Saturday, Feb 18 at 6:07 PM

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives say the investigation into a former elementary school teacher charged with committing lewd acts on students could be hampered by the flood of civil cases related to the scandal and public statements made by alleged victims.

Investigators tell the Los Angeles Times they are concerned that Mark Berndt's defense team could use statements by alleged victims and their attorneys to raise inconsistencies and to suggest that they have a financial motive for accusing the teacher.

The charges against Berndt were made public Jan. 31. Since then, the Times reports, civil attorneys say they are representing more than 60 victims. Earlier this week two alleged victims appeared with their attorney on the "Dr. Phil" television show.

Berndt is charged with 23 counts of lewd acts upon children, ages 6 to 10.

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Information from: Los Angeles Times, http://www.latimes.com

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