Report: Teacher in LA molest case paid to resign

A Los Angeles-area elementary school teacher who

Los Angeles Unified School District administrators, counselors and new teachers gather at the Miramonte Elementary school in Los Angeles on Wednesday, Feb. 8, 2012. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- A Los Angeles-area elementary school teacher who's charged with committing lewd acts with kids in class was paid $40,000 to resign.

The Los Angeles Times ( ) says Mark Berndt was removed from Miramonte Elementary School in January 2011 as the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department was investigating him.

He was fired the next month and appealed but dropped the appeal and resigned after the school district paid him four months of back pay and reimbursed him for health benefit costs.

District general counsel David Holmquist says the district settled because it had no evidence to defend the firing on appeal. He says the district was told not to investigate Berndt to avoid interfering with the criminal probe.

Berndt and another teacher have now been charged with felonies involving Miramonte students.

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