A former student of a Monrovia man accused of molesting and sexually assaulting his Duarte elementary school students testified Thursday that the teacher touched her inappropriately and made her afraid to go to school.
Wade Joseph Bughman was arrested in 2010 for allegedly molesting and sexually abusing seven students when he taught at Beardslee Elementary school between 1997 and 2010. He is charged with 11 counts of molestation and rape in a trial that began Tuesday.
A former student of Bughman, identified in court by only her first name and last initial, told prosecutor Debra Archuleta Thursday that her former sixth grade teacher touched her inappropriately multiple times in 2009 and 2010. She said she got "fed up" with "being afraid to go to school" because of Bughman's inappropriate behavior.
The student said she didn't tell anyone about Bughman's behavior until after he was removed from the school because she didn't think others would believe her.
"Since I told my friend and she didn't believe me I felt like no one would believe me," she said.
The girl testified that Bughman's inapproriate touching was so common that students would call out a code word--"grape" (a variation of "rape")--when Bughman would touch them to get other students to notice.
Bughman's attorney, Leonard Levine, challenged the girl's recollection of the events and objected to her repeated need to review preliminary hearing transcripts to refresh her memory about the various molestation allegations.
"It is our postion, obviously, that the witness changes her version of the events every time it's been told," Levine told Superior Court Judge Dorothy Shubin outside the presence of the jury.
Bughman's alleged misconduct was first reported in a school questionairre by a student in April 2010. He was placed on leave by the Duarte Unified School District and arrested in in June 2010 after several students accused him of molesting them.
Testimony will resume Friday morning at 10:30 a.m.