SHERMAN, TEXAS - The recent arrest of a former Los Angeles teacher accused of molesting more than 20 students has sent shockwaves around the nation. Now local advocates are warning parents and other adults to be on high alert as the cases around Texoma continue to rise.
Former LA teacher Mark Berndt was arrested Monday after police discovered hundreds of photos showing young students blindfolded and gagged. Authorities say some of the students even had giant roaches crawling on their faces and in many photos Berndt posed with the kids in sexual bondage positions. But the shocking allegations don't stop there.
"In some of the pictures there was indication the kids were being fed something in a blue plastic spoon and it was bodily fluids," said Lt. Carlos Marquez of LA County.
What may be an even bigger concern, is that none of the students told anyone about the alleged incident. Local counselor, Stephanie Evans says that unreported cases are more common than many people think.
"Generally kids are afraid because its someone they know and they don't want that person to get in trouble," said Evans.
That's why its important for parents to talk to their children about abuse in terms of body safety and privacy.
"We need to be talking to our kids about what is a comfortable touch, what is a comfortable interaction, what's safe and what's not safe," said Evans.
Even if a child doesn't report abuse, Evans says there are a few signs parents can watch for including isolation, struggling in school, difficulty concentrating and even physical complaints like stomachaches. But she says the most important thing parents can do to help prevent abuse, is simply talk to their kids.
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