Defense Attorney for Monrovia Man Calls School Rape 'Physically Impossible'

A defense attorney for Wade Bughman delivered his closing argument Wednesday, insisting that the five girls accusing him of sexual abuse at a Duarte elementary school were lying.

A defense attorney for a Monrovia man accused of sexually assaulting five of his female students at a Duarte elementary school insisted that the girls lied about the alleged abuse when delivering his closing argument Wednesday.

Leonard Levine, one of two attorneys for former Beardslee Elementary School teacher Wade Bughman, told jurors Wednesday that his client never molested or assaulted any of his students and said the alleged victims made their stories up.

One of Bughman's accusers came forward more than a decade after the abuse and testified that the teacher raped her when she was 7-years-old. Levine said it was "physically impossible" for his client to have raped her without noticeably injuring her at the time.

"It could not have happened and it did not happen," Levine told a jury of six men and six women. "And he could not have done it because he is not a pedophile."

The defense called an expert witness who testified that Bughman was not a pedophile based on an interview he conducted with the teacher after he was arrested, Levine said. Prosecutor Debra Archuleta has said that assessment was unreliable because it was based on the self-reporting of Bughman himself who had reason to be dishonest in the interview.

Archuleta delivered her closing argument Tuesday and painted Bughman as a "practiced manipulator" who sought out his victims carefully based on whether they would be likely to report the abuse.

Levine repeatedly characterized the accusations of Bughman's accusers as "lies" and said his client was being punished for being a "friendly, goofy teacher who liked to joke around."

"And for that he is called a pedophile," Levine said.

Levine said another accuser was blaming Bughman for a different sexual assault she was the victim of at the time she came forward. And he said no witnesses ever testified that they saw the alleged abuse occur other than his client's accusers.

"Not one kid saw anything," he said.

Levine's closing argument will resume Thursday afternoon. Archuleta will have a chance to rebut before the case is turned over to the jury, likely before Friday.

Tim Young November 29, 2012 at 02:58 PM
The prosecutor in this case sounds very "McMartinish" in her presentation especially with the content and context of her close.
Marg November 29, 2012 at 09:55 PM
It's seems like DUSD is not doing a very good job of checking teacher's backgrounds. This perv then the other guy just getting picked up for "partying" on his patio in front of God-n-everybody is NOT cool at all.
Jeff November 30, 2012 at 01:42 AM
The expert witness (a clinical psychologist) did not merely base his decision on "an interview." He conducted a 4-hour clinical interview and also gave many hours of standardized psychological tests. Moreover, the protocol he used was exactly the same protocol he uses when called by the DA's office (for whom he does 90-95% of his evaluations) to assess pedophiles. He has evaluated literally thousands of pedophiles. He has been conducting pedophile evaluations for over 20 years and has taught at universities, training others on assessment techniques. His credentials are impeccable. He virtually never reports for defense attorneys because virtually everyone he assesses is, in fact, a pedophile, and such testimony would not help the accused. The expert also concluded that the 9 charges, spanning 15 years, clearly suggest the work of a pedophile. However, this was one of the very rare times in his 20 years when he concluded that the evidence clearly indicated that the accused is NOT a pedophile. To suggest that the expert merely interviewed the accused, and that the accused merely denied it via self-report, is inaccurate. Furthermore, the prosecutors’ inference that this expert witness was just a “hired gun” is untenable. If a licensed psychologist is shown to falsely interpret the results of any assessment, particularly one of this seriousness, she or he will likely lose her or his license and also probably be open to law suits. The expert’s career would be over.
Monrovia Parent November 30, 2012 at 02:17 AM
I'm so tired of all these sick individuals. I feel bad for all the families involved in this especially the kids.
Christinia Thompson November 30, 2012 at 03:25 AM
@ Marj The public is often quick to make that assumption, but I can assure you and everyone else, that DUSD does complete background checks. Neither teacher had priors or they would not have been hired. If they had priors they would not have been able to get teaching credentials. When a teachers are convicted of crimes like these, their credentials are revoked. The statement that DUSD is not doing their job on background checks is simply not true. Things like these are reported by the School District to the Commission on Teacher Credentialing. They will in turn suspend or revoke the teacher's credential.


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