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That there is evil in this world is not a new concept.  However, we have been taught from a very young age that we shall see no evil, hear no evil, and speak no evil.  But, is this what we really want to be saying to our children?  

                 

Child sexual abuse (CSA).  It seems almost unimaginable, unfathomable that a grown-up, in a position of authority, a trusted family member, friend, or mentor, would abuse their position and power in such a cruel, vile, disgusting way.  

A child, with their wide-eyed questioning souls, living only to garner your attention; they love unconditionally, laugh unabashedly and have no barriers, no walls to protect themselves.  Too trusting, too loving, too innocent...Tell them the moon is made of cheese and they'll believe you.  Tell them Santa Claus lives at the North Pole and they'll believe you.  Tell them the tooth fairy is real and they'll believe you.

Tell them it's our little secret and no one will understand - and they will believe you.

This is what pedophiles rely on.  They know that the child will never question their motive, never doubt their word.  If you tell a child you're going to kill their mother, or worse, if they tell, THEY will kill their mother, THEY WILL BELIEVE YOU.

Nursery rhymes, stories, filled with childhood wonderment and happy endings.  We cage our parables in cute cartoons and furry animals.  We teach our morals and values in language they can understand.  We want them to have the perfect childhood - but the truth is the predator walks among us...

But the tigers come at night/With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart/And they turn your dream to shame

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WARNING - May Be Triggering
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A former Los Angeles-area elementary school teacher has been charged with lewd acts on children, including putting cockroaches on students' faces and offering them a spoonful of what may have been semen, authorities said on Tuesday.

Mark Berndt, 61, was arrested at his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Torrance on Monday, accused of abusing nearly two dozen boys and girls, ages six to 10, between 2008 and 2011, officials with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

Authorities began investigating Berndt over a year ago, after more than 40 photos depicting children in classrooms with their eyes blindfolded and mouths covered with tape were turned over to police, Sheriff's Department officials said.

"The details on this particular case are disturbing. There's no such thing as normal and this is way beyond normal," said Sheriff's Lieutenant Carlos Marquez, who supervised the case.

Some photographs showed girls being offered a blue plastic spoon that contained a clear or white substance, which authorities now believe may have been semen.

Early in the investigation, detectives recovered a similar blue spoon from the trash within the teacher's classroom that tested positive for semen, Sheriff's Sergeant Dan Scott of the special victims unit said.

Berndt's DNA was found to match that of the DNA profile found on the spoon, he added.

In some photos, Berndt was seen with his arm around children or his hand over their mouths, Scott said. In others, children were seen with "large, live Madagascar-type cockroaches on their faces and mouths," the Sheriff's Department said.

390 PHOTOS

Investigators have discovered a total of 390 photos in the case, and about 10 of the children depicted in the photos have not been identified, the Sheriff's Department said.

The original group of photos turned over to detectives came from a company that does photo processing, such as the services offered at a typical drug store, Marquez said. Investigators did not name of the company.

Investigators also recovered a DVD from Berndt's home depicting adult sexual bondage activity that mirrored the bondage-type photos of the children, Sheriff's Department officials said. The adults in the bondage video were not identified and the images in that video are not a crime.

For over 30 years, Berndt taught at Miramonte Elementary School in the Florence area of Los Angeles County, Scott said. Berndt was fired by the Los Angeles Unified School District in March 2011, shortly after the investigation began, Scott said.

The children named as victims in the case were students at Miramonte, and some were in Berndt's class, Marquez said.

The investigation involved interviews with more than 80 current and former students and school employees, officials with the Sheriff's Department said.

"While this investigation took a year, we need to be very solid on these cases when you're dealing with lewd acts against a child," Scott said.

An attorney for the former teacher could not be reached for comment.

Berndt was formally charged on Monday with 23 counts of lewd acts upon on child, court records show, and was being held in jail in lieu of $2.3 million bail. He could spend the rest of his life in prison if convicted on all counts.

(Writing By Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Paul Thomasch and Cynthia Johnston)
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That there is evil in the world is not a new concept.  But we must teach our children to be silent no more.  We must instill in them the courage and confidence to speak up and speak out when evil finds them.  We must no longer rely on the tenets of our youth of not embarassing the family or keeping it in house.  We KNOW there is evil in the world, and since we KNOW better, we must DO better.  

This is a teaching moment in our history.  We can shine the brightest light on child sexual abuse and hopefully prevent another child having to face the horrors of the night.  Child Sexual Abuse CANNOT exist in the light of day - it is only in secrets and silence, shame and guilt, keeping it house, sweeping it under the rug, and turning a blind eye that predators survive.  We must give our children a voice.  We had no voice then and no one spoke up for us - but we have a voice now.

We Must Be Vigilent!  We Must Keep Our Messaging At The Forefront of The News!

We must scream from the top of our lungs - STOP!  NO MORE!!  NEVER AGAIN!!!

Originally posted to Roxine on Thu Feb 02, 2012 at 12:27 PM PST.

Also republished by TreeClimbers and House of LIGHTS.

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