A former student of a Monrovia man accused of sexually abusing children while teaching at a Duarte elementary school testified Wednesday that the teacher raped her and threatened her life in his second grade classroom in 2001.
Wade Joseph Bughman is charged with 11 counts of molestation and rape for allegedly abusing seven children while he was a teacher at Beardslee Elementary School in Duarte from 1997 to 2010.
An alleged victim identified only by her first name and last initial testified Wednesday during a preliminary hearing at the Pasadena Superior Courthouse that she was prevented from going to lunch by Bughman (pronounced Bock-man) in September or October 2001 while she was a student in his second-grade class. The girl, who was 7 or 8 years old at the time, said Bughman raped her in the library area of the classroom while other students were in the cafeteria and then threatened her to keep her quiet.
"He said, 'If you tell anybody I will kill you and I will kill your family,'" she said.
The girl testified that she was too scared to tell her mother or police at the time of the incident.
"I thought either I would get hurt or my family members would get hurt," she said.
The alleged victim said the abuse continued "basically daily" for the duration of the 2001-2002 school year. She said Bughman routinely molested her during class, sometimes with other students around.
Leonard Levine, Bughman's attorney, pointed out that the girl's initial statements to police about the threats differed from what she has since told investigators and prosecutors. The first police report said the victim told police that Bughman told her he would kill her if she didn't stop screaming, according to Levine. The girl said on the stand that police made a mistake in that report.
Levine also challenged the girl's recollection of several alleged episodes of molestation, which she said happened in front of several other children. He asked if any other kid had ever noticed or reported that Bughman was touching her inappropriately, and she said they had not.
The girl's mom took the stand next and told prosecutor Debra Archuleta that her daughter complained to her of the abuse in April of last year. She said that her daughter told her of the alleged rape and also mentioned an incident during a school field trip to see a performance of "The Sound of Music" where Bughman allegedly forced her to touch him inappropriately.
Bughman, who is out on $700,000 in bail, wore gray slacks and a blue collared shirt as he watched the testimony. His closely cropped hair resembled his hair style in his booking photo taken by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department at the time of his arrest.
Several people accompanied Bughman to court Wednesday and huddled around him to shield him from a camera outside the courthouse. Levine declined to comment on the case.
Bughman was arrested in Apple Valley in June of last year after several students came forward and accused him of abuse. He was placed on leave last April by the Duarte Unifed School District after administrators were alerted to the alleged abuse by responses from a school survey.
Another alleged victim testified earlier Wednesday morning that she became scared when Bughman touched her on her lower back when she was a student of his in 1993. She said she was never touched inappropriately again.
The final witness to take the stand Wednesday was a 10-year-old girl who was in Bughman's 2nd grade class two years ago. The little girl told Archuleta that she did not want to be there testifying.
"Are you afraid that something might happen to you if you were to say something today?," Archuleta asked the girl, who replied "yes" before later breaking down into tears.
Judge Stan Blumenfield then ended testimony for the day. It will resume Thursday morning.