Teacher pleads no contest to lewd acts on students

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A once-respected former teacher accused of committing lewd acts on children in what authorities said he called ‘‘tasting games’’ pleaded no contest Friday as victims’ family members tearfully told him he had ruined their lives.

Mark Berndt entered the legal equivalent of guilty pleas to 23 counts of committing lewd acts on children. Under a plea deal, the former teacher at Miramonte Elementary School in Los Angeles was immediately sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Superior Court Judge George Lomeli said it was the equivalent of a life sentence for the 62-year-old defendant.

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