Lewd Teacher on Trial in California
A former elementary school teacher in California accused of committing lewd acts on 23 students pleaded "not guilty" today.
Mark Brendt remains in jail this afternoon, where his attorney says he fears for his safety.
Looking gaunt and disheveled, Mark Brendt was led into an L.A. County court room today, where he entered a plea of "not guilty."
The 61-year-old Brendt is charged with 23 counts of lewd acts with his former students at Miramonte Elementary School.
But moments after entering the plea, Brendt's public defender lashed out at deputies who work at the downtown jail, saying they've been harassing his client.
Public defender Victor Acevedo says the jail staff is purposely trying to make his client look haggard, by denying him a razor and haircut.
He also says that jailers named Brendt's specific dorm to other inmates.
A spokesman for the L.A. County Sheriff's Department denied Acevedo's claims.
Brendt is accused of taking hundreds of lewd photographs with at least 23 students at Miramonte over the past several years.
Since his arrest last month, a second teacher at Miramonte was arrested and charged with fondling a student.
The school district replaced the entire staff at the school and is conducting its own internal investigation.
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