A prosecutor called a Monrovia man a "practiced manipulator" during her closing remarks Tuesday in a trial that will determine whether the former Duarte teacher is guilty of raping and molesting his students.
Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta began her closing arguments Tuesday morning and painted Wade Bughman, a former teacher at Beardleee Elementary School, as a pedophile who actively sought young girls to abuse because they could not become pregnant.
"Wade Bughman, ladies and gentlemen, is a practiced manipulator who carefully chose his victims," Archuleta told a jury of six men and six women Tuesday.
Bughman is charged with 9 total sexual abuse counts including rape, lewd conduct with a child, digital penetration of a minor and forced oral copulation for allegedly assaulting five different students at Beardlee from 1997 to 2010.
Archuleta said Bughman chose his victims carefully based on whether they had begun their menstruation cycle. He raped the younger girls and limited his abuse to touching and molesting with teenage girls, she said.
Some of the five girls Bughman is accused of abusing stayed silent for more than a decade because they were afraid that their family and friends wouldn't believe them, Archuleta said.
"They were all worried that their parents wouldn't believe them," Archuleta said.
Archuleta said that Bughman's two defense attorneys sought to characterize the girls as untrustworthy when presenting their case. They subjected the girls to "brutal cross-examination" in an effort to discredit them, she said.
"Are these children liars, ladies and gentlemen?," Archuleta asked. "Or are they heroes?"
Archuleta said the sexual assaults allegedly perpetrated by Bughman were not seen by witnesses because he attacked the girls behind a bookcase in his classroom.
"The acts that the defendant perpetrated...were all after school, at recess or at lunch," she said.
Bughman was arrested in June 2010 after several students came forward and accused him of abuse. He was placed on leave in April 2010 by the Duarte Unifed School District after administrators were alerted to the alleged abuse by a response in a school survey.
"Our teacher is touching us," was written by a student in the survey, according to Archuleta.
Archuleta's closing argument will continue at 9:45 a.m. Wednesday. The defense will then deliver its own final remarks.