Families of alleged victims show up at Atascadero teacher’s court hearing

Chris Berdoll

Families of many of the alleged victims of an Atascadero school teacher who is accused of videotaping female students’ underwear showed up at San Luis Obispo Superior Court Monday for the first hearing in the child pornography case. [KSBY]

Chris Lynn Berdoll, who is charged with 44 counts of child pornography, did not enter a plea at the arraignment hearing. It appears Berdoll will face a lawsuit, in addition to the criminal case, as an attorney representing the families of the alleged victims said they want to take action against the teacher in civil court.

Berdoll, 48, is a sixth grade teacher at Atascadero Fine Arts Academy, part of the Atascadero Unified School District. He was arrested earlier this month after police investigators determined Berdoll had video-recorded the undergarments of female students.

Investigators have identified a total of 20 victims in the case, though authorities say there could be more victims. The victims identified thus far range in age from 9 to 15.

Last week, prosecutors charged Berdoll with a total of 44 felony counts related to the production and possession of child pornography. Twenty-four of the counts consist of allegations that Berdoll used children under the age of 18 to pose or model alone or with others for the purpose of preparing photographs to depict child pornography.

On Monday, with the alleged victims’ families in attendance, a judge issued protective orders requiring Berdoll to stay 100 yards away from the alleged victims and to not have any communication with them. Berdoll is also banned from possessing firearms.

Berdoll’s arraignment was continued, though, until Oct. 18, and he remains out of jail, having already posted bail, which was set at $500,000. Prosecutors are seeking to increase the amount of Berdoll’s bail.

Berdoll is currently on paid administrative leave from his teaching position.