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Girl Testifies Teacher from Monrovia Raped, Molested Her

Testimony began in the preliminary hearing for Wade Joseph Bughman, a former teacher at a Duarte elementary school accused of sexually abusing several students.

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.

Karen September 07, 2011 at 08:42 PM
Wade is absolutely innocent. I do not know the man personally, but after reading about the case, it is absolutely disgusting what they've put him and his family through. His whole life is ruined because of these girls and the lies they've created. Look at past cases where the accusations were eventually proven to be false and what it did to the people who were accused.
SandraT September 08, 2011 at 01:04 AM
I hope, if he's proven innocent, he'll counter sue.
Anna P April 03, 2012 at 03:47 AM
I do not believe there is any way this family can recover regardless. I KNOW this man is innocent and it is very sad that we prosecute the person based on very flimsy accusations. As a friend of the family AND a school employee it appears from what the student has stated happened the complete staff at the school must have been very unaware of their duties. She was kept from lunch, this could not happen as it would be reported at some point. She was "raped" in the classroom library area, sometimes being touched with other students in the room. This just could not happen without someone seeing it at some point. It appears someone IS on a witch hunt and I feel so bad that it has to be at the expense of an innocent man. I am so happy I am not a teacher, this is such a terrible thing and from statistics being reported that it is in the high 90 percentile that these type of accusations are found to be false. Remember, you will have to answer to false accusations some day.
mrsgoodwill August 25, 2012 at 01:02 AM
It reminds me of the Salem witch trials. Over ten years after the alleged incident someone comes forward with outlandish claims. They fail to tell you that none of these girls "came forward" until after the police had contacted them as Bughman's past students. It all stemmed from a survey in the school where one girl said he had made her feel "uncomfortable". After that, they went around to his past students. After teaching over 12 years in the area I think it is shocking that only 6 came forward. They are from low income neighborhoods and know that a court case can reward their families handsomely after they sue the school district for "failing to protect them". England is about 20 years ahead of us and this stuff happens all the time over there. This is like winning the lottery for them! The testimony is so appalling that I'm shocked the case hasn't been thrown out already. The prosecutors should be ashamed of themselves. And for those who think the accuser is always right? Wait until they are aiming their guns at you my friend...
Helena Coche December 18, 2012 at 10:58 AM
Brilliant! I totally agree with you mrsgoodwill. After reading what this ex-student claimed happened many years ago, none of her accusations made sense. Seven years old and not being accounted for during lunch time and recess time? Children that age have close playmates who would not go to recess or lunchtime without their "bestest friend" being with them. If, and that is a big IF, the girl was a loner, then you'd think she'd be really close to her siblings (most likely she has some) or mother, and being that young and not fully understanding sexual acts, would have been screaming and crying out in pain, (as would a child being punished by an adult) and telling a sibling or her "mommy" how the bad teacher hurt her and did something bad. Another rather telling disclosure of rape that didn't ring true is how in the hell could she have hidden this from her mom in the first place?? If a 7 year old were raped, wouldn't her mom see her bloody underwear?? I'm quite sure that a 7 year old does not do her own laundry! Wouldn't a young child. after repeatedly being raped, be extremely sore? Nobody noticed anything amiss when this young girl took a bath? Mommy's still usually assist with bath time, usually little girls this age like bubble baths, pajama time, then bedtime stories. Funny, not confiding in mommy when safe at home?! Not even when school is out on weekends or holiday vacation, or long summer vacations?? What she claimed is just not plausible!

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