LAPD picks up suspected Altadena molester

This from staff and wire reports:

LOS ANGELES  — An Altadena man made his first court appearance today on
charges that he molested two 9-year-old girls, including one of his students,
while he was working as a teacher about 20 years ago.

Mark Walter Sonnenburg, 53, is scheduled to be arraigned Oct. 20 on three
felony counts filed last Friday involving the two alleged victims, according to
Sandi Gibbons of the District Attorney’s Office.

One of the girls was a student at Eagle Rock Montessori School,
where he taught at the time, Gibbons said.

He had more recently taught at The Walden School in Pasadena where he worked until March, according to a statement released by that
school.

“We have determined that these allegations do not involve any former or current
student from our school and are based on a time more than two decades ago,”
Walden School’s statement says. “Prior to learning of the allegations, the
school never received any information, complaint or allegation of this kind
involving Mr. Sonnenburg — before or during his tenure at the school.”

The Walden School said it had been contacted by authorities during the last
school year, had been fully cooperating with the investigation and conducted
its own independent investigation.

Sonnenburg was arrested last Friday by officers from the Los Angeles Police
Department’s Northeast Division. He has remained jailed since then in lieu of
$300,000 bail.

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  • Anonymous

    I personally have known this man for eleven years and he is not a molester, I believe that his accusers have some sort of vendetta. Mark is a fabulous teacher, loving, kind and gentle. He would never do anything to hurt a person physically or emotionally.

  • Anonymous

    I was a student of his, and while very friendly, he never did anything inappropriate. I have a very hard time believing this.

  • Stephenie Frederick

    Mark Sonnenburg is one of the finest teachers my daughter (now a university student) ever had. He provided animated, engaging lessons and activities. His classrooms were rich with books, color, animals, plants, everything to delight the senses and intellect of young students. Students and parents alike loved his warmth, patience, and good humor. I refuse to believe that Mr. Sonnenburg ever took sexual advantage of a student. I agree with the first commentator that this must be some sort of vendetta.

  • Anonymous

    I was a female student of Mark’s for 5 years and had a close relationship with him. He was always appropriate in attitude and action. His classroom was lively, engaging and vital to my success as an adult. I find these accusations very hard to believe.

  • Anonymous

    Mark Sonnenburg is such an excellent teacher and kind person it is hard to even imagine people having a vendetta against him. It is most likely that those young people misinterpreted some action in their memories. Remembering events from 20 years ago, that happened when one was 9 years old, seems prone to error.

    And child molesters do not stop what they do, they continue and often escalate. The entire Walden community knows that there has never been an inappropriate moment with Mark and a child, in fact quite the opposite.

    My heart goes out to his family in this very difficult moment.

  • Dianne Pugh Emley

    I have known Mark Sonnenburg for over forty years. We grew up and went to school together in Northeast L.A. He is one of the most gentle, kindest, brightest, and funniest people I’ve ever known. He is an excellent and beloved teacher who found his true calling at an early age. He would never do anything to harm anyone, especially a child. I pray that the D.A. scrutinizes his accusers’ motives.

  • Tom Armbruster

    I have also known Mr. Sonnenburg for many years. I’ve collaborated with him and taught at Walden alongside him. My daughter, now 24, attended also. This cannot be true. Molesters don’t stop after two times. There was never an inappropriate moment in all of his years at Walden School. I have seen him in every conceivable situation with students. I know that Mark is a good man and I will continue to give him all my support. Again, this absolutely cannot be true.

  • Anonymous

    Not only have I known Mark, been a student of his and held him to great esteem, but I also know the other party, accusing him of the charges. I don’t think this is a question of whether he was a great teacher, it goes without saying.

    This is their truth. I just hope it comes out in the wash.

  • Anonymous

    This is not a vendetta against Mark. This is about truth. This is about justice. This is about young children being molested by someone they trusted. This is about adults listening and protecting children when they tell you that they have been violated. I am related to one of the victims. She has lived with the pain and sorrow of this experience for twenty years. She is 29 years old now and can stand on her own as an adult and tell what happened. This is about her truth.

  • Anonymous

    I have known Mark Sonnenburg for over 6 years, he taught both of my children and our entire family holds him in the highest regard. Yes he is an incredible teacher, but he is an incredible person with high morals. I trust the legal system will prevail and the real truth will prevail.

  • Anonymous

    Well, if justice is to prevail, Mark will be held accountable for what he has done. I also am related to one of the victims. Her story has never changed. When told today the details are exactly the same as when she was 9 years old. If she were lying, she would never remember the exact details. So, we may think we know someone, and be sure of what they would or would not do, but please do not be so quick as to throw out what these girls are saying. No one is saying he isn’t a great teacher, but everyone has the ability to do things that we can’t believe. Please, trust that what these girls are saying is true. I know it is true, and I have known him for many, many years.

  • Anonymous

    Listen all you Mark fans. This man is a molester and a drunk. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves for not believing innocent children. I’ve known this man for 20 years and he is not innocent. I hope those of you who are blinded by Marks charm, start educating yourselves about they types of people who molest so you can see that Mark fits the profile perfectly.

  • Anonymous

    Listen all you Mark fans. This man is a molester and a drunk. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves for not believing innocent children. I’ve known this man for 20 years and he is not innocent. I hope those of you who are blinded by Marks charm, start educating yourselves about they types of people who molest so you can see that Mark fits the profile perfectly.

  • Anonymous

    While I am very sorry for this girl’s pain, I have got to say, as a parent, if this is true:
    “Her story has never changed. When told today the details are exactly the same as when she was 9 years old. ”

    I can’t believe that you’ve known about this for 20 years but were okay with letting him teach other kids?

    If you’ve known he’s that horrible, then I’m both astounding and disgusted that you would let this happen.

  • Anonymous

    What is this? It took these 2 children 20 years? Did they have to make up a story? Did they just want to ruin Mr. Sonnenburg’s career? He is innocent. These 2 families are a shame to the community.

  • Anonymous

    These two families are a shame to the community. This happened 20 years, ago and somehow now they decided to tell their story. They ruined Mr. Sonnenburg’s career. 20 years…

  • Anonymous

    to the last poster, you have got to be kidding me!!! if he did this, he ruined his own career. if he did not, and is exonerated, then you should be glad for him.

    taking sides right now is presumptuous. and for you to presume 20 years should erase the pain, makes you a monster!

    i know, FOR A FACT, that because of the statute of limitations, MORE victims are not able to come forward. does that make him exempt/innocent of those girl’s nightmares as well?

  • Anonymous

    to the last poster, you have got to be kidding me!!! if he did this, he ruined his own career. if he did not, and is exonerated, then you should be glad for him.

    taking sides right now is presumptuous. and for you to presume 20 years should erase the pain, makes you a monster!

    i know, FOR A FACT, that because of the statute of limitations, MORE victims are not able to come forward. does that make him exempt/innocent of those girl’s nightmares as well?

  • Skeptical

    Any reasonable person who doesn’t know either party would be skeptical about the accusations.

    “Her story has never changed. When told today the details are exactly the same as when she was 9 years old.” So, she’s been telling this story to adults for 20 years and no one did anything? Really?

    Also “If she were lying, she would never remember the exact details.” Memories, especially of children can be very detailed yet often unreliable (Google “McMartin Preschool”).

    Or did she only recently recall these alleged events, perhaps with the help of a therapist? She could absolutely believe them, when in fact they are “false memories.” Do the research.

    Hey, no one is a fan of child molesters. There should be a special hell reserved for them. But if someone makes accusations that ruin a man’s family life/career/reputation, she has to be able to stand up to the scrutiny.

  • Truth

    Only Mark and the girls know. Not me. Not you.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t be so quick to judge. Know all your facts. For one of these families did report this 20 years ago. Be careful who you are disgusted with.

  • Survivor

    Having been a victim of molestation, I understand the sensitivity of the subject. Having also been a student of Mark’s I’ve seen how he works with children. Mark does not have the criminal mindset that people wish he had. He is no molester and I would HATE to see him punished. Of all people, I, a sexual abuse survivor am apt to take the side of the accuser right away – but in this case it would be the unintelligent choice.

  • Jane Armbruster

    I study/work in a profession where I deal with many individuals that have suffered the blows of childhood molestation. I have only two or three friends who were not sexually abused themselves – one has even published a book on the matter. I understand it is a situation with very sensitive feelings for both sides. I know that child molesters come in all shapes and sizes and that the scars left on a young child are painfully real and must be lived with forever. I also know that I’m not going to turn on every person accused of molesting a child without solid, undeniable evidence – not 20 year old heresay (in the middle of an economic crisis oddly enough). I was a student of mark’s from first to sixth grade and my father worked closely with him. I am now 24. I will not expound on what a wonderful teacher he was, for that is a mute point. I will however say that as a young girl I was often alone with Mark. There was nothing, not even a subtle overture of anything the least bit unseemly. Mark had more than countless opportunities to molest me, not only in empty schoolyards and classrooms but in his own private living space.

    Anonymous said : “You should be ashamed of yourself for not believing innocent children.” The last time that I checked the incidents were being reported by adults.

    Anonymous said : “Her story has never changed. When told today the details are exactly the same as when she was 9 years old.” Now, it is my understanding that one family did report it but that still leaves a hole you could drive a truck through. Why was nothing done? Could it be there was no evidence to back up her story?

    Anonymous said : “This man is a molester and a drunk.” I have been at this man’s house before many times and at social events and have never once seen him take a drink. This childishly put accusation is simply laughable.

    Anonymous said: “I know, FOR A FACT, that because of the statute of limitations, MORE victims are not able to come forward.” Oops! Not true. My father talked to someone directly involved in the case who said that they had spent the last year looking for people to invite to come forward with evidence of there own sexual abuse by Mark. They couldn’t find a soul.

    Another Anonymous stated : “start educating yourselves about they types of people who molest so you can see that Mark fits the profile perfectly.” The glaring problem with there logic is that child molesters would NEVER stop. Especially, if they had gotten away with it. The psychological illness of Pedophilia does not go away by one’s own willpower. Please indulge a quote from Understanding Child Molesters by Eric Leburg : “The child molester continues to set people up long after he’s been convicted. It is simply not a habit to give up once he has dedicated so many years to refining this skill.”

  • Anonymous

    Mark was my teacher 20 years ago and he was excellent as a teacher — however, there was one incident when behaved inappropriately toward me. The two are not mutually exclusive.

  • Anonymous

    To the idiot who made the comment about the economy…this is a CRIMINAL trial, not a CIVIL trial. You don’t know very much do you.

  • Anonymous

    To the person who keeps quoting other people’s comments and responding…SHUT UP already! You sound like a child molesters friend.

  • Jane Armbruster

    For the two of you above attacking my statement I would certainly defend your right to do so. However to the first : yes, civil trials are where a member of the family seeks to be compensated for wrong doings and I never disputed this. I was remarking criminal trials do generate quite a bit of income – maybe the family sees none. It was more an affront to our often corrupt judicial systems and the proceedings therein. If I had said “the family is only doing it for money,” that would have been a rather monstrous assumption. As far as me being an idiot, it’s a shame you aren’t able to express yourself without dissolving into name calling. To the second individual you clearly suffer from the great deal of anger this trial generates and I have respect for that. I don’t think breaking down points and responding to points made makes me the friend of a child molester as much as it is a means by which to discuss a topic in a forum designed for just that. Rather then using a discussion forum to tell people to shut up, perhaps you should take a breath and then take the time to express why you think the person in question is guilty – because that is, of course, why this page was created – not for us to lose our cool toward one another.

  • Lauren Walther

    I attended Walden from pre-school (1988?) to 6th grade (1996) and only knew Mark to be a great guy. He was just as enthusiastic and warm as any of the other teachers and not once did he ever act inappropriate. This is hard for me to believe. True or not, this arrest will forever change his life and his family’s life, and that is painful to think about. I always wished the best for all of them.

  • Lauren Walther

    *inappropriately

  • Ilana Milch

    I agree with both lauren and jane, mark was never my teacher but was present throughout my childhood, married to one of my favorite teachers, and friend to every family and student in the Walden community. I can’t even fathom any kind of abusive behavior coming from this man and am truly alarmed and saddened by this report. Walden was and remains such a special and wonderful school that runs with such sensitivity that i cannot imagine the community allowing a dangerous person to teach their children for so many years without ever becoming alarmed or suspicious. Mark is a wonderful teacher, father, and man, i send my thoughts and wishes to him and his family in this trying time.

  • Anonymous

    Nobody WANTS to believe this. That’s not the point. Both you and I can consider ourselves lucky, as our childhoods remain the idyllic places they have been for decades. They were not taken from us, nor will be be. But this is not about us. This is about something we can’t possibly begin to fathom; about something we have no understanding or knowledge of. Our speculations are meaningless and our judgements inappropriate. I ask that we stand aside, as we are merely ignorant bystanders.

  • Anoymous

    My question is… how does a person defend himself/herself against these accusations that are now a criminal, legal action against Mark? What does he say ? Uh, no I “didn’t” do it while he is standing in court?? IF, and only IF it was one student a long time ago, I would say its a witch hunt… But, is it true there are multiple victims, coming from different families in a different point in time?

    These accusations must have some bearing, or “meat” to it? I bet Mark cop’s a “plea” on this….

  • Anonymous

    Being from E.LA I agree with your idea a plea might be on the table right now. Because the court date was pushed out to October 20. Our problem with this is two fold. First, there are as you say multiple victims in this court action. Second, we believe he is not teaching any more at Walden School.

    Since we had our daughter at Walden, we are curious if Mark still teaches? Where? and did Walden School discharge him on the spot back in March?

  • Anonymous

    He was let go in March or April. He is not teaching now

  • Katie Weisman

    I also attended Walden school from 1988 to 1995. Although Mark was never my teacher, Walden was such a close-knit community and Mark was known and loved by the students. I am sad to learn that he is no longer at Walden, as he was such an asset to the school – organizing and writing plays and projects, reaching out to the community. These allegations are very hard for me to believe. Mark and his family always set such a good example for the students and their families. I hope Mark is proven not guilty so he and his family can heal completely from having to go through this process. And if – though I wouldn’t believe it – Mark is guilty, the fact remains that he has done so much good with his life, for Walden school and for the community. He is, at his core, a brilliant teacher, a loving father, and a very good man.

  • Anonymous

    Katie you are making the proposition that Mark is exonerated, or above the law, because of his outstanding teaching abilities? What about the victims in this case? There are more than one.

    Remember Hitler, because he did solve the economic problems of Germany, but in the process exterminated 4 million Jews in the process.

  • Anonymous

    how can you even compare the alleged doings of this man to hitler you should be ashamed of yourself that is disgusting

  • Anonymous

    how dare you compare the alleged doings of this man to Hitler– you are disgusting and should be ashamed of yourself. not to mention it was 6 million jews not 4.

  • Anonymous

    not to mention it was 6 million Jews not 4

  • Anonymous

    If you read the criminal complaint, now that is TOTALLY DISGUSTING. Did you read it? We did over here in Pasadena. How about this for disgust: “PENETRATION WITH A FOREIGN OBJECT” how about that one to ponder? Now tell me I am disgusting, don’t cuss at me-I am a female mother too !!

    The criminal complaint is enough to make you want to “THROW UP” your thoughts-

  • Anonymous

    I am a friend of the Sonnenburg family, and my only hope is that their family will still function well. Pray that the court will rule fairly.

  • Anonymous

    To the last poster-our family hopes and will pray also that the court will rule fairly for both sides to receive closure. Mark has a long way to go. Hope he is up to it. After the Oct.20 appearance comes the court date, trial and judgement. Then, the possibility of a civil trial by the prosecution (if found guilty) by the previous trial. Then the judgement, then the lawsuits.

    And yes, my husband and I believe Walden School is very, very liable. This could end up on Court TV ?

  • Anonymous

    he is guilty

  • Anonymous

    TO THE GALLOWS

  • Anonymous

    Two options exist do you think before a “he is guilty” statement is presented to this blog?

    First-if Mark sticks to his guns and goes down the court proceeding road; this is alot of time and money. It must be asked, is Mark financing this defense? It’s gonna cost a bundle.

    Second, he just might cave in and throw himself mercy to the court. Game over at this point-except this would open the doors for Civil action not only against him, but the school Walden, his family, wife kids, house, cars, boat, gosh you name it.

  • Anonymous

    Did Mark Sonnenberg post bond and get released from LA County jail yet?

  • Anonymous

    Due to the nature of this case and the mind set of the District Attorney, I myself see this case on Court TV. Mark Sonnenberg’s bail was more than OJ Simpson’s. And OJ was on Court TV.

    This could be the white knight to ride on from the DA’s perspective. God, I love this legal system. Justice for all, right? No, Just Us !!

  • Anonymous

    I attended Walden School from 1995-1999. Mark was my teacher for two years and was also my tutor for a year. Though he was often touchy with me, he never touched me inappropriately. After leaving Walden, a couple of my former classmates and I dicussed his behavior toward us and although we were never touched inappropriately, we still found the amount of contact we had with him a little overwhelming. It wasn’t until I started wearing a bra that I realized that it wasn’t okay for him to be stroking my back under my shirt. This could be the case of other children who attended Walden, or it could not. Though I found this behavior weird to me, other children might not have realized it until later as well.

  • Incredulous

    How about this option re: “he is guilty.” Anyone hear of “presumption of innocence”? That’s how our courts operate in this country. But if your basis of comparison is Nazi Germany, you may not realize that.

    Further, regarding the details in the criminal complaint… Doesn’t mean those charges are true. Here’s another term: “burden of proof.”

    But I suppose “anonymous” name-calling is easier than THINKING and considering all sides of the story. One fact remains: Mark is innocent until proven guilty.

  • Anonymous

    Incredulous aka Mark’s Naive Friend.

  • Anonymous

    I’m a relative of Mark Sonnenburg. I’ve known him 20+ years. This is not the first time he has been accused of child molestation nor the first time he has been arrested for child molestation. Yes, it is true, Mark is a brilliant man and excellent teacher but beneath the exterior shell lies a troubled man with a serious mental illness. The last time he was arrested the DA felt there wasn’t enough evidence to convict him. Hopefully, that won’t the case this time. I know its hard to believe someone you love and is close to you is capable of such heinous behavior. As hard as it is to see a family member go to jail, psychopathic and sociopathic personalities are a detriment to society and should be dealt with accordingly.

  • Grateful To You

    It must of been hard to do as you did and say what you said. Our question, did this occur during his tenure at Eagle Rock? Obviously, it was on his record during his tenure at Walden.

    You can probably guess “where” we are going with this.

  • The Nazi Sez

    Somewhere on this blog we were informed that Walden School in Pasadena let him go back in March, April. My superior intelligence is telling me this was probably after they conducted “their” background report.

    Which, by the way, should of been done when he was hired in the first place. And, probably due to ignorance of other people at Eagle Rock, a background report was probably not performed. They do cost monies.

  • Mark’s Relative

    The incident we are referring to took place while he was at Eagle Rock. It was a relative not a student. She was 9 years old at the time. I encourage all of his victim’s reading this blog to come forward and contact the Los Angeles District Attorney sex crimes division at 213-974-1611 ask for Anne Marie Wise. These types of cases are extremely tricky and need to have as much evidence presented as possible. Please step forward and tell your story, you are not alone. By not stepping forward you are allowing a monster to continue to prey on the innocence of little girls.

  • Mark’s Relative #2 Amanda Greene

    I am also a relative of Mark Sonnenburg. To the victims, my heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you. This hasn’t been easy for our family to deal with, as you can imagine the enormous elephant that follows us to every family birthday party, holiday meal, wedding celebration and funeral for our beloved Papa. The past 20 years have felt helpless. We are a big family and love each other deeply. Now is the time that our love can hopefully start to heal and comfort everyone who has been damaged by Mark’s illness. Only when the truth is acknowledged can the road to peace begin.

  • Mark’s Relative #2 Amanda Greene

    I am also a relative of Mark Sonnenburg. To the victims, my heart goes out to you and my prayers are with you. This hasn’t been easy for our family to deal with, as you can imagine the enormous elephant that follows us to every family birthday party, holiday meal, wedding celebration and funeral for our beloved Papa. The past 20 years have felt helpless. We are a big family and love each other deeply. Now is the time that our love can hopefully start to heal and comfort everyone who has been damaged by Mark’s illness. Only when the truth is acknowledged can the road to peace begin.

  • Concerned Member of The Community

    I can understand why those of you who have had positive experiences with Mark would have difficulty believing that he is capabable of such depravity. He is by all accounts a gifted teacher and it is certainly hard to believe that someone we believed in and admired could be the worst kind of man. And I agree completely that Mark is entitled to the presumption of innocence in court and to a fair trial. But as community members, parents and citizens we have to put the safety and welfare of children at the absolute forefront. That means we have to take the allegations of the women who have come forward seriously and not write them off as impossible simply because they don’t comport with our own experiences with Mark. At least four victims have been in contact with the police, all with similar allegations. The two women involved in the criminal complaint, and two other women – who have no connection to each other – all tell similar stories. As has been reported by Mark’s family members on this board, one of the victims is a family member of Mark’s, who reported the crime when it occurred, and Mark was arrested back then as a result. The people who think this must be some sort of “vendetta” or who claim that the allegations are based on the faulty memories of children simply do not have all of the facts. This is not some coordinated effort of people out to get Mark for no reason and there was a contemporaneous report and record of his abuse. These are credible witnesses, so for our children’s sake, we can’t just cover our ears and say “I refuse to listen.” Hopefully, the full truth will surface in the criminal proceedings and justice will be served.

  • Anonymous

    Time to go to your bookshelf and dust off your copy of “The Crucible” before he’s seen dancing in the fields with witches.

  • Walden Graduate

    Mark Sonnenburg is a good man and a wonderful teacher. Though he never taught my grade, his wife was my second grade teacher and Mark tutored me after school in math many times, alone. Never once was he inappropriate or out of line; if anything he just made me feel like I was really getting a hold of times tables and division and that empowered me at a very young age. He is an excellent teacher and helped make Walden the great place it is today. I feel so much sadness for this man and his family right now and hope that the real truth comes out. I honestly can just not believe the allegations are true and am very curious to see how the case plays out. I truly hope he is found innocent. It is just too hard for me to believe that a man of such high caliber can be guilty of such awful crimes.

  • Stephenie Frederick

    Early on, I thought that only a vendetta could explain this new version of Mark I was being forced to confront. I had revered Mark for twelve years. I had placed my daughter in his class. I thought he walked on water. I was outraged that my understanding of him should be so brutally violated. But without knowing the facts, I had no right to cry “Vendetta!” If there are truly young women whom Mark abused, I apologize to you. If Mark is innocent, may that be made known to the world. I hope that the trial will bring all truths to light, and that all involved will walk the most healing path in the years to come.

  • Anonymous

    To the Nazi Sez and Grateful to You:

    Please get a decent grammar book and consult it before you post your illiterate comments. “Should of been done” is, in English, “should have been done.” “It must of been hard to do” is, in English “it must have been hard to do.”

    “Probably due to the ignorance” should be “probably because of the ignorance.” “Monies” should be simply “money.”

    When you write this poorly, your credibility is SEVERELY undermined (as in down to zero).

    Sounds you need a good teacher. I know of a superior one who could help you out.

  • WU

    These charges must be misinterpretations of Mark’s behavior which in no way, in my experience, or of anyone else who I attended Walden with, was ever inappropriate. Young kids often project problems onto their environment and convince themselves of their own exaggerations. I completely understand all of you who feel horrified and angry with this case and these charges.

    But what needs to be remembered and considered in a fragile situation such as this is the fact that young kids who aren’t yet sexualized, physical contact like kisses on the head and hugs seems fine. As we get older, we start to sexualize our environment and occasionally our past. When doing so, false accusations can occur days or even decades later. Yes, we would should listen to children and to adults when they say that sexual misconduct has been committed against them, but it is equally important to realize that these accusations are just as easily mistaken, exaggerated, or are complete projections from the kid’s home life or inner emotions.

    I know in my heart from personal experience and close contact with Mark and his family, that in no way did his behavior have sexual overtones nor did he make his students uncomfortable in their educational environment.

    I agree that in molestation cases, because it is an illness, the ocurences do not stop at two but rather continue. I remember very well that everyone in my graduating class at Walden thanked Mark in their speeches. I thanked him for his nurturing care, support, motivation and love in both his teaching and his private tutoring. This must prove something…

    This case is heartbreaking.

  • The Nazi Sez

    Yes we ain’t got no bannas, no bannas we ain’t got today. Never judge a book by its cover. Remember Nixon back in the 70′s whereas all America just liked this guy and won by a landslide election. Then, his horrible language, bad words and the F bomb on those tapes. OMG what a potty mouth.

    Didnot we kick him out of office? The first rule of teaching any kid or college student is you don’t touch the merchandise, don’t party with your students, and you don’t see them alone unless its office hours on campus. this idea of being secluded while tutoring has got to stop. ACHTUNG (hey, anybody gota spell checker?)

  • Anonymous

    This is a good time to realize that anyone can write anything on the internet. Many of these posts are meant to arouse suspicion, and they are no doubt being sent out by the police, intent on slanting public opinion against this man, making people question their own experience. The purpose of our judicial system is to allow a fair trial. This is no fair trial.

  • Anonymous

    Get real, do you really think the police are doing this? also, to the person who thought Mark actions were “misinterpreted,such as a kiss on the head: PENETRATION is no misinterpretation

  • Anonymous

    Where is the police report? i would like to read this.

  • .

    Where can we find the police report? I think everyone would like to read this.

  • Anonymous

    Yes, Mark is highly intelligent, charming and a good teacher. This being true, in no way shape or form excuses or over shadows the horrid crimes he is charged with.

    It would best serve the community to take a step back, remove personal emotion from ones mind and look at the facts.

    Fact: Mark Sonnenburg has been accused of child molestation more than once.

    Fact: This is not the first time he has been arrested for molesting a child.

    Fact: He is charged with 3 Felonies.

    Fact: Their are at least 4 women claiming he molested them.

    I know It is hard to believe someone you are close to and love is capable of such horrid crimes. Please keep an open mind with regards to not knowing all of who Mark is. History has demonstrated some people have the capacity to mask certain aspects of who they are.

  • Anonymous

    If you go onto the District Attorney of Los Angeles county’s website, you will find the charges where it states penetration.

  • Anonymous
  • Robert Helt

    Hello All…..

    My name is Robert Helt. I live in Fort Wayne Indiana. I am ex-brother in law to Mark Sonnenberg., and ex-to Anna (LuLu) Sonnenberg being a brother in law. I was married to Anna’s sister, Mary for 28 years in the State of California. Unfortunately, Mary and I divorced in January 30, 2006. I regret that outcome.

    I first met Mark Sonnenberg back in the middle of 1980′s when he and Anna was dating. Mark was, and probably is, a high spirited intelect with a compassion to teach. His total modus operande (MO) has been and probably is, to teach the kids of today for the preparation of tomorrow. I have been alerted to this bogg or blog by a family member to my off-spring. I have read your comments, studied them and I remember the occurance back in the 1988 time frame when Mark was questioned and investigated for child abuse. I WAS there. Even though I heard and listened, I found it hard to believe-but there must of been some merit to the charge.

    Over the years, Mark and I have shared many great momemnts and also some lows in life. But, I must confess that his intentions are to find a mechanism or means to teach and help. Many, many times I personally have heard, listen and was told by all the family members that he is “awfully” frendly. This is probably Mark’s make-up or how he operates as a teacher.

    Over the years, Mark and I have talked about teaching, education and how to inspire young people to get involved, learn and most importantly to: LISTEN.

    He had developed different techniques I must admit. I do not propose to provide a defense to Mark Sonnenberg nor to Anna his wife. Anna is a dear friend, and I will remember her to my grave. Mark believes in a personal touch possible to the point whereas, it crosses the line. Being a past College professor at San Diego State, I was instructed never to engage with the students. But, guess what…. I did… I had to find some method to connect with my students. But, I never “cheated” on my former Wife, Mary.

    You may not believe this, but I do., in fact-that, maybe Mark does not realize crossing the line of physical connection with students. I firmly believe that Mark is a very honest guy, he loves his wife, LuLu and His two sons. And, I know this guy would not hurt a fly on the wall. But, being things as they are, I know we as the general public will say he crossed the line. Maybe he did, maybe he did not.

    About the penetration charge, well…. Thats not acceptable and if it is proven, Mark will stand for punishment.

    Overall, Mark Sonnenberg is a teacher-you know that? A teacher. A very hard, difficult and bumb paying job that will not make you rich in money or property. Teachers, speaking in general, do it for the care of the youth because this is our future.

    Being in Fort Wayne Indiana I cannot be in Los Angeles to see him in Court. I am a Engineer and do alot of travel and expect to be on foreign travel this winter. I keep thinking, how he must feel the whole world crushing on him a single blow. But…. I know how it feels when I had to divorce my wife after 26 years in California which was his Sister in Law. It was: GUT WRINCHING….

    Let me say to this blog, that, maybe Mark was trying to extend out of the box on his teaching abilities. He is very, no… extremely smart. I do not believe he received his bachelors degree. But, I understood from “our” Father in Law: Papa, that he was honored to go to MIT, but he refused the appointment.

    I believe he is self taught. This is totally tragic to me and to the family I suppose. I never dreamed this could happen. Mark and I go back to the good ole days where he and Anna would come down to El Cajon to our house to swim and party. Always, we would talk about very intensive subjects—totally above me, but not to him.

    Please know, I am not excusing this action, just explaining our relationship to the family Mark has. I know the charges are severe, believe me…. I know…
    And, I sure hope we can get through this.

    I also know very well Amanda Green, my past Niece and very good gal. I miss her and her brother Arron. Amanda is a down to earth gal, sure wish I could visit with her now. More importantly, her Mother is probably the best friend I ever had in this family. Amanda has her rights and I fully understand her feelings… I am very afraid, I am. To the point that this might frag, displace and divide the family that is very important to me.

    Now, I know I am not a family member anymore because I was divorced from the family back in January 30, 2006., but it is hard to just “blow it off” after I have spent close to 30 years being associated to this family as a “son in law” to many.

    We have a legal system that must be respected. I confirm and agree let the parties come forward with their complaints. Please come forward and don’t be afraid. The law is for all of us. Not for you and definitely not for me.

    And, let us hear it from Mark Sonnenberg personally what had, could occur. And…. then lets provide judgement on this issue.

    I know for a fact that Mark, my ex-brother in law has very interesting teaching techniques. Thats what made him as good as he is…. But, I hope he did not cross the line.

    Please know, “IF” he did cross the line, I will help with his prosecution.

    My name is signed to this note, if you have any questions, I am available for comment. I have a business cell phone of: 260-403-7073.

    My signature is,
    Robert Helt
    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Relative #2 Amanda Greene

    To my Uncle Bob, I love and miss you as well:).

    Regarding any possible division of the family over Mark’s behavior, to
    my knowledge everyone who is aware of what he did to our relative
    believes he is a molester. For the past 20 years we begrudgingly sweep this ugly family secret under the rug in order to create a level of cohesiveness at family functions. This has done a great disservice to our relative, our family and to the community at large.

    Nobody wins in these situations but at least if the truth is
    acknowledged justice can be served. My wish for Mark is to account for
    what he has done to his victims and to atone for his actions. My wish
    for all of his victims is that your stories will become part of the
    fight against child molestation.

    Amanda Greene

  • Robert Helt

    To my Niece Amanda-its been a long time kiddo!! Give my best to your mom, aaron and your dad. The only info I got was from Mary in the living room back in 1988 or 1989 informing me about Marks visit by the police. But, thats as far as it went or so I was told.

    Looking back, yeh big dis-service, sweeping this ungly family secret under the rug, who’s brilliant idea was that? Cuz I had 4 little kids at the time, remember. And, Mark was around and we visited him up in Monrovia.

    To everyone who knew this happened to our relative and believed it, I didn’t cuz I did not get the whole story. I had no idea he was arrested, was he? Had no idea the DA dropped the case.

    The way it was presented to me was. Hey, Bob just to let you know, the Pasadena police investigated Mark about our relative (name not mentioned). I said, I think he is weard anyway. Then, nothing. Absolutely nothing. Family get togethers, no problem. Birthdays, no problem. Hey, I bet he was their at Papa’s funeral. I wasn’t invited, and I am not a molester.

    I’ll keep track of this one family tale for sure. I don’t think the family told the entire story or the truth so other members could be prepared. I am pissed about that one. Keep in touch Amanada, I look for great things you will accomplished in your life.

    Uncle Bob
    Fort Wayne, Indiana
    Ex-family member #6 in the chain of command

  • Anonymous

    To Mr. Helt: rest assured, the whole family knew the whole truth. You may not remember this, but I know you knew all about this. The only ones who did not know, were some of the children, but every adult in the family knew about the arrest, the charges and the fact that the judge dismissed the case. I know that every adult knew about this.

  • Robert Helt

    No, your wrong Ms. Anonymous. I was informed the police came to their (Sonnenberg’s) house in the vein of an investigation. Nothing about charges drop, nothing about the DA throwing the case out. No, I was not informed the proceeding was that involved, therefore, I “blew” it off like a bad headache. You are correct that probably all adults in the family knew about the investigation, but not to the depth as explained within this forum.

    Robert Helt
    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Robert Helt

    Oh, forgot. If you cannot sign your name your statement(s) have absolutely no credibility nor truth.
    The only family member that has a “spine” is Amanda. Probably comes from her Mom, a very good gal in my book.

  • Relative #1 Aaron Greene

    Hi Bob,

    I also miss you as you have been and are one of my favorite uncles. This blog need to be about Mark Sonnenburg and his past finally catching up to him. Lets not turn this into a he said she said pissing match and distract the community from the issues at hand. The focus should only be about the horrid molestation crimes Mark is charged with.

    Aaron Greene

  • Anonymous

    I encourage all of his victim’s reading this blog to come forward and contact the Los Angeles District Attorney sex crimes division at 213-974-1611 ask for Anne Marie Wise. These types of cases are extremely tricky and need to have as much evidence presented as possible. Please step forward and tell your story, you are not alone. By not stepping forward you are allowing a molester to continue to prey on the innocence of childhood.

  • Anonymous

    Come on guys…. No one can deny the fact that the man was way too touchy with the girls. I had him as a teacher for one of my 6 years at Walden and have known him since the Eagle Rock days too. His inappropriate behavior has come up in conversation with old friends from Walden, and I haven’t heard one person say they didn’t feel like he crossed the line or that they were in the least bit surprised at the allegations.

    I sincerely hope that these girls can get justice for what they went through. A comment was said earlier about the “rubbing of the back under the shirt” and I totally remember that one…. Not OK….

  • Anonymous

    I would like to know more, I’m sure all of us would or at least I hope we want to know more. What are the details of the other two girls, girl #3 and girl #4? Where is there information on the first arrest long ago? The idea of that is disturbing at best. I completely agree you are innocent until proven guilty, and, at the same time, I would want to know if a teacher at my child’s school was arrested for child molestation. I thought arrests, even if they did not end up in a court action, would be reflected in “Live Scan” the fingerprinting background check system used by foster care and schools in general.

    I agree with “Truth”, only Mark and the girls truly know the truth. We only have opinions, hopes and fears. I can’t imagine Anna’s anguish right now as well. Certainly if it’s true, the victims have had the worst done to them and deserve our greatest sympathy and sorrow, next is Anna whether it’s true or false. If its false, then Mark as well.

    I am puzzled by statements of “20 years” inferring that somehow creates suspicion about the charges. It is very common for victims to not come forward until they are well into their adulthood. Catholic Church is all that needs to be said.

    I have to say the statement of the last post from a Walden student about Mark rubbing their back UNDER their shirts is shocking at best. I do not know a setting in which I would feel comfortable having an adult rub my child’s back under their shirt, absolutely not OK as she stated. Were there any boys whose backs were rubbed under their shirt? A teacher giving students hugs in public or settling a crying upset child is one thing, but crossing the boundary of clothes is well beyond “just an affectionate teacher”.

    Wouldn’t the first arrest be in a public record somewhere?

    Shouldn’t all of his past students be notified? If there are Walden or Eagle Rock alumni out there that may have been violated, how are they being notified? I know there has not been official full scope notifications go out to alumni.

    Also, child molesters don’t molest every child. They dont stop, but they dont molest everyone. Only children who are vulnerable become prey. If it’s clear there is a solid, active, support system for the child, they are generally not a good candidate for a molester. So, sadly, the fact that some or many students did not experience this does not disprove this as a possibility. I wish it did, we would all like to believe it’s not true. Again, sadly, none of us really know as much as we wish we did. If child molesters did not have good qualities it would be easy to spot them and keep them away from our children. The disheartening truth is, they do have other good qualities that foster a sense of confidence for us to entrust our childs welfare with. (I know the grammar is challenged, hopefully the message is clear.)

    I am posting as anonymous because of the intense negative energy against those who have opposing views.

  • Anonymous

    Mark doesn’t need enemies, he has his family.

  • Robert Helt Fort Wayne

    Aaron Greene, Amanda, etc…. I am not posting anymore for personal reasons.

    But, my e-mail is: RobertHeltRH@netscape.net

    Keep in touch big guy. How come your mug shot is not on Forbes Magazine yet, Huh? My best & sincere regards to your family… I remain,

    Uncle Bob…………………………..

    Sincerely,
    Uncle Bob
    Fort Wayne, Indiana

  • Anonymous

    Mark created enemies within his family by abusing their trust. Why on earth shouldn’t they speak up and tell the truth about him?

    I wonder if all of the Mark apologists who claim to know him so well knew about his first arrest before they entrusted him with their children? Neither Mark nor Anna disclosed that arrest to the school, or to the parents or students (who have every right to know about something like that involving a teacher!) so I suspect it is news to those jumping to his defense.

    I can only hope that his friends aren’t being blindly supportive and have had the sense to ask him some tough questions about his past.

  • Anonymous

    When and where was the first arrest?

    Where is there a record of it?

    Was it the arrest for the charges from the family member?

  • sara

    I am now in my second year in college and just about all of my fondest memories of walden include mark. He was the kindest, most loving teacher i ever had, apart from his wife who was equally loving. I never had any bad experience with mark, never felt uncomfortable around him. I thought of him as a second dad and looked forward to coming to class everyday! i think people need to think about what they say before they say it these accusations ruin ppls lives. “I wonder if all of the Mark apologists who claim to know him so well knew about his first arrest before they entrusted him with their children” excuse me anonymous but do YOU know mark? i will support him completely and fully until i have evidence not to! i am blessed to know him and to have been taught by him and i am blessed to know his family and his sons who will always have to deal with these accusations whether they turn out being true or not. all i have to say is that i owe a lot to mark who added so much to my development as and elementary student and just a student in general, who gave me a second family to look forward to seeing everyday, who helped me study for the ISEE to get into middle school and who was ALWAYS supportive of me and my classmates. i wish him and his family the best

  • sara

    I am now in my second year in college and just about all of my fondest memories of walden include mark. He was the kindest, most loving teacher i ever had, apart from his wife who was equally loving. I never had any bad experience with mark, never felt uncomfortable around him. I thought of him as a second dad and looked forward to coming to class everyday! i think people need to think about what they say before they say it these accusations ruin ppls lives. “I wonder if all of the Mark apologists who claim to know him so well knew about his first arrest before they entrusted him with their children” excuse me anonymous but do YOU know mark? i will support him completely and fully until i have evidence not to! i am blessed to know him and to have been taught by him and i am blessed to know his family and his sons who will always have to deal with these accusations whether they turn out being true or not. all i have to say is that i owe a lot to mark who added so much to my development as and elementary student and just a student in general, who gave me a second family to look forward to seeing everyday, who helped me study for the ISEE to get into middle school and who was ALWAYS supportive of me and my classmates. i wish him and his family the best

    p.s. all u fake “family members” GROW UP seriously

  • Anonymous

    Once, again, no one is saying Mark isn’t a good or even great teacher. That is not the issue. Just because someone is a great teacher, does not mean they are not a child molester.

  • Caroline Abdala

    I am the parent of a former Walden student, now college student. My family knew Mark, both as a teacher at my daughter’s school and socially. Our famiies vacationed together, we shared dinners and celebrations. When I was briefly hospitalized, my daughter stayed at their home. Mark was also a math tutor for my daughter. He had ample opportunity to molest her, yet she is clear that there was never a moment of discomfort or inappropriateness in their interactions. She loves him kind of as a father/uncle figure. He comes from Latino background and is very affection and physical with children and their parents alike (hugs, hands on the shoulder/arm, kisses on the cheek). This is his culture, but it was always appropriate. A pedophile can’t stop molesting for 20 years while every day being around numerous children. Its a compulsion. How in the world could Mark have hidden this compulsion and never approached a child inappropriately at Walden if all of this is true?? I don’t believe it. I believe these girls THINK something happened, are confusing people and events, have recreated memories (perhaps with the help of therapists?) and may not have malicious intent. But…they are changing the Sonnenburg’s lives and that is irreparable. It doesn’t matter that he will be exonerated, his life and reputation is tainted, he has lost the livelihood he was so very talented in and he will be looked at suspiciously forever. This is a good man who is wonderful around children and during my daughter’s entire tenure at Walden (K – 6th grade) was nothing but supportive and loving. My heart goes out to their family and to Mark who must feel betrayed and scared right now. Those of you on this forum who are telling others to “shut up” and stop befriending molesters, are actually putting this accusation more in doubt than it already is. That is petty, emotional, visceral ranting and it makes you sound hysterical. Maybe this is the kind of hysterics that are fueling the accusation?

  • Caroline

    I am the parent of a former Walden student, now college student. My family knew Mark, both as a teacher at my daughter’s school and socially. Our famiies vacationed together, we shared dinners and celebrations. When I was briefly hospitalized, my daughter stayed at their home. Mark was also a math tutor for my daughter. He had ample opportunity to molest her, yet she is clear that there was never a moment of discomfort or inappropriateness in their interactions. She loves him kind of as a father/uncle figure. He comes from Latino background and is very affection and physical with children and their parents alike (hugs, hands on the shoulder/arm, kisses on the cheek). This is his culture, but it was always appropriate. A pedophile can’t stop molesting for 20 years while every day being around numerous children. Its a compulsion. How in the world could Mark have hidden this compulsion and never approached a child inappropriately at Walden if all of this is true?? I don’t believe it. I believe these girls THINK something happened, are confusing people and events, have recreated memories (perhaps with the help of therapists?) and may not have malicious intent. But…they are changing the Sonnenburg’s lives and that is irreparable. It doesn’t matter that he will be exonerated, his life and reputation is tainted, he has lost the livelihood he was so very talented in and he will be looked at suspiciously forever. This is a good man who is wonderful around children and during my daughter’s entire tenure at Walden (K – 6th grade) was nothing but supportive and loving. My heart goes out to their family and to Mark who must feel betrayed and scared right now. Those of you on this forum who are telling others to “shut up” and stop befriending molesters, are actually putting this accusation more in doubt than it already is. That is petty, emotional, visceral ranting and it makes you sound hysterical. Maybe this is the kind of hysterics that are fueling the accusation?

  • Aaron

    Again, Mark being a good teacher has nothing to do with his illness. Molesters, especially intelligent ones are often methodical in choosing their victim’s. I am a relative of Marks’ (his nephew Aaron) and can attest to his arrest in the late 80′s for the molestation of my cousin. His family is not surprise to see other victims come forward. FYI Mark married into a Colombian family and yes he is of Latin decent, and I can assure you the crimes he is charged with would never be confused with customs in the Latin community (i.e penetration with a foreign object)….

  • ?

    Thats why it says “she knew him as a teacher AND S-O-C-I-A-L-L-Y…apparently you missed that part supposed relative aaron

  • Deep Throat

    Mark could be considering a plea at this time. Financial stress has placed family upside down, relatives now helping. Other family members are financially strained and cannot help. Lawyer paid for bail not Mark or his family. stay tuned.

  • Daisy

    All, this is just heartbreaking no matter how one looks at it. If he’s guilty, then Mark will have to pay a terrible penalty for his actions. Let’s not forget that he has children who are watching their father go down in flames. The pain they must be feeling is indescribable. Should Mark not be guilty, then his entire life has been up ended and he’ll never have the opportunity to return to his love of teaching. Either way, this man’s life as he’s known it is over.

    There’s been a lot of chatter over the fact that despite Mark stepping down in March (knowing the charges where inevitable) that he was still allowed on school property. I know he hasn’t been convicted, but as a parent, I’m very disappointed in the Walden School for allowing him on Campus knowing what he was being charged with and knowing he beat a previous charge. This was clearly very bad leadership and judgment on the Walden School’s part. It’s ludicrous to think they would let someone who’s being charged with a sex crime allowed back on campus. The right decision would have been to ban him from campus until the charges were either proven or dismissed. Armed with the information they had, Walden is guilty of not protecting our children and they too need to be held accountable.

    Any of you entertaining a civil suit with Walden please feel free to email me at daisy426@aol.com. I have a wonderful attorney who has worked on abuse cases and he’d be happy to talk with you as well. He knows several of the children at Walden and, like the rest of us, is heartsick over these events. As a parent, Im angry to know that after all of the years we spent at Walden, and having my children under Marks teachings, that now the veil is being lifted and revealing something very horrible. Its devastating to say the least.

  • B

    Not Guilty, Until Proven Guilty in a Court of Law!!!!

  • A Concerned Parent

    Why don’t you people simply let the police and courts do their job? Oh wait, I know… welcome to the world of blogging. A world full of people hiding behind anonymity, spewing vitreol and hatred, accusations, and jumping to conclusions. Time will tell what happened with this case, and your mean-spiritedness isn’t going to change anyone’s opinion, mind or the facts. This is all very disconcerting, especially to those of us that had or have children in the situation. But please let’s all set about to do something positive instead of venting simply to tear people down.

  • Anonymous

    heard there was enough evidence to go to trial

  • Anonymous

    The above stated is false. The case is going to trial.

  • Anonymous

    The case is going to trial.

  • anonymous

    Anyone know when?

  • ANonymous

    Not only when but where? What time? Court location?

  • anonymous

    Does anyone have knowledge about Daisy going forward with civil claims against Mark Sonnenberg & Walden School?

  • Anonymous

    The victims who have come forward thus far weren’t Walden students. They can certainly sue Sonnenberg (though doubtful he has any $$ for them to collect), but they wouldn’t have a viable claim against the school. And as troubling as it is that a man accused of such horrible crimes continued to show up at school events, that doesn’t mean Daisy or anyone else who was not a victim has a civil claim against Walden. Hopefully Daisy’s lawyer friend explained that to her.

  • Vanessa Mills

    Does anyone know what happened in this case? I haven’t been able to find any further news although I heard a rumor that he plea bargained.

    Mark was my teacher for 2nd through 6th grade and, whatever he may or may not have done, was a huge force for good in my life. I care for him deeply and would like to know. Thanks.

  • anonymous

    PRE TRAIL DATE
    October 26th, 2009 Court House opens at 8:30 AM. # 115

  • Anonymous

    Oct. 26 is not a pretrial hearing. That already happened in March where it was found there was enough evidence to proceed with a trial. Has been a year since Mark was arrested and still, constant rescheduling and cancelling of court dates. The justice system sucks. This man has been out of jail for a year, and still, no farther in dates for a trial or a plea bargain. What a joke

  • Anonymous

    Oct. 26 is not a pretrial hearing. That already happened in March where it was found there was enough evidence to proceed with a trial. Has been a year since Mark was arrested and still, constant rescheduling and cancelling of court dates. The justice system sucks. This man has been out of jail for a year, and still, no farther in dates for a trial or a plea bargain. This makes the justice system look ridiculous. I am sure his high priced attorney is charging an arm and a leg when he shows up in court just to cancel and reschedule.

  • Anonymous

    Is it possible Mark’s family is covering up for him and providing funds to finance continuation after continuation? Exactly what happens on October 26? Since I pushed alot of monies into Walden are they liable for anything? Or is this just one big fat stupid mistake?

  • Yo Vanessa Mills:

    If you care for him “deeply” then send him money. He could use it. A legal team that can keep him alive and on the streets of Pasadena will cost alot of dinero, pesos, greenbacks. Get the picture?

  • A Concerned Parent warns about Worry for Mark

    “”Then he said to his disciples, “Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life Mark, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing. Consider the ravens, for they neither sow nor reap, which have neither storehouse nor barn; and God feeds them. Upon you this will come. Of how much more value are you than the birds? And which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature? If you then are not able to do the least, why are you anxious for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothes the grass, which today is in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will He clothe you, O you of little faith?”"
    PP”"And do not seek what you should eat or what you should drink, nor have an anxious mind. For all these things the nations of the world seek after, and your Father knows that you need these things. But, seek the Kingdom of God, and all these things shall be added to you.”"

    PP”"Do not fear, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Sell what you have and give alms; provide yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches nor moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Repent”"

  • Anonymous

    Yea, lets pump a lot of money into this so a pedophile can be kept alive on the streets of Pasadena. That makes sense.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, what a good idea, lets send lots of money to him so this pedophile can be kept alive and on the streets of Pasadena. Is that what you want to do with your money?

  • Anonymous

    Marks family is NOT providing any money to continue this charade. Remember, one of our family members is the victim from 20 years ago. We are not providing him with anything.

  • want to know

    Anyone know what happened OCT 26th??

  • Anonymous

    He’s headed to the GALLOWS………LA County Gallows! Pled guilty 2/22/2010.

  • Anonymous

    The word is getting out at this time.

    How long in Jail? Did he cop a plea? Please publish time he got and where he will go to jail.

    WHAT A SCUM BAG

  • Anonymous

    Actually he pled no contest on 2/22/2010. This means that he does not admit guilt, but he will not defend himself in court.

    http://www.pasadenastarnews.com/rds_search/ci_14455070?IADID=Search-www.pasadenastarnews.com-www.pasadenastarnews.com

  • Anonymous

    Former Pasadena teacher pleads no contest to molestation charges
    By Nathan McIntire Staff Writer
    Posted: 02/23/2010 05:17:09 PM PST

    ALTADENA – An 53-year-old Altadena man has pleaded no contest to charges he molested two 9-year-old girls while working as a teacher at an Eagle Rock school in 1988.

    Mark Walter Sonnenburg entered the plea Monday. He was charged with two counts of lewd acts with a child.

    He is expected to be sentenced to 180 days in jail and five years probation, according to Shiara Davila of the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

    Sonnenburg must also register as a sex offender and attend therapy sessions. He is due back in court April 19 for formal sentencing. Deputy District Attorney Ann Marie Wise said she expects both victims to speak during the sentencing hearing.

    District attorney officials decided on the sentence after consulting with the victims, Wise said.

    “Given the age of the case, and having consulted with the victims to see what they wanted to see happen, this was the offer that all the victims were comfortable making,” she said.

    She said a plea bargain was reached to “spare the victims having to go through a trial, cross-examination and reliving for them very traumatic events.”

    Sonnenburg worked at the Eagle Rock Montessori School when the crimes took place. One of the girls he molested attended the school, Wise said.

    The other victim was Sonnenburg’s family member, she said.

    The molestations took place at two separate residences in the Pasadena area, Wise said.

    One victim filed a police report in 1988, but Sonnenburg wasn’t arrested until last October, when the second victim notified police, she said.
    Several other people have come forward with allegations against Sonnenburg, but no additional cases could be prosecuted because the statute of limitations had passed, Wise said.

    Sonnenburg was also a former teacher at the Walden School, an elementary school on San Gabriel Boulevard in Pasadena. He stopped teaching there in March 2008. No students at the school made any allegations of impropriety against him, according to a statement issued by the school.

    “Walden fully cooperated with the police on its investigation and conducted its own independent investigation,” the statement reads. “Prior to learning of the allegations, the school had never received any information, complaint, or allegation of this kind involving Mr. Sonnenburg – before or during his tenure at the school.”

    Matt Allio, the school’s director, declined to comment for this story.

    nathan.mcintire@sgvn.com

    626-578-6300, ext. 4475

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Sonnenburg was arrested back in 1988. However, it was thrown out of court. That never should have happened. That young girl was willing then, and should have been allowed to tell her story in the court. So, he has been arrested twice for this, once in 1988 and once in 2008. These girls, now young women, should be applauded for their determination in bring this case to justice. For these women to stand up 20 years later and tell their stories as adults is beyond admirable. To have the courage to stand up against a very popular teacher took strength and courage, and is a testament to their character. My heart goes out to both of them, and they should be proud of what they have accomplished.

  • A Disgrace to the Teaching Profession

    My husband commented to me: A total disgrace to the teaching profession. Even though education could be private or public.

    No more private for us-we have been convinced. Once a defender we now promote prosecution.

  • Anonymous-Stupid and DUPED !!

    Consider the comments from people in support of this individual. Talkin’ about eating “CROW” oh yes.

    Where, in my area, will this individual be registered as a “sex” offender? Maybe we should be advised: Yes & No?

  • ANONYMOUS

    i suggest to all of you who make the decision to accept TRICKSTERS into our society to ask your children some serious questions if they have ever been in a classroom with this man. what is too far? does having a 6 yr old girl on your lap for longer that 10 minutes, and caressing her arms and face, and making her feel warm and safe and loved seem to be appropriate? maybe for a father to a daughter.. but not a teacher to his student.

    HE IS A TRICKSTER. HE LOVES TO LOVE CHILDREN. HE SEES NOTHING WRONG WITH HIS AFFECTIONS TOWARDS CHILDREN. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE AND STOP ACCEPTING THE SMARTEST TRICKSTERS INTO OUR ENVIRONMENT. THEY TRICK US TO RESPECT THEM AND TO HONOR THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS IN OUR SCHOOLS. HELL… ASK YOUR GIRLS SOME SERIOUS Q’S AND IF ANYTHING HAS EVER HAPPENED .. EVEN IF IT WAS 20 YEARS AGO… STEP FORWARD AND STAND UP FOR WHAT IS RIGHT. STOP HIDING .. THE TRUTH WILL SET YOU FREE.

  • Glendale Parents

    Hello

    What is the status of this fantastic teacher from Walden School?

    Where is this fantastic teacher with over 120 posts claiming his true claim of “I am not guilty?”

    We are Catholic and believe are choices are vaciliating between Walden and St. Bede’s. Where is the teacher of the year, Mr. Markus Walter Sonnenberg?

    Walden or some other Catholic School?

  • Charlotte W.

    @ Glendale Parents:

    He is currently at the LA County Jail serving (not nearly enough) time for two felony counts of PC 288- lewd acts with a child under the age of 14.

    You can see his jail status here:
    http://app4.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm

    He will never teach again.

  • Charlotte W.

    Mr. Sonnenburg is serving (way too little) time at the LA County Jail. He was allowed to plea “No Contest” to two felony counts of PC288 (Lewd act with a child under the age of 14).

    You can see his inmate status here:
    http://app4.lasd.org/iic/ajis_search.cfm

    Once released he must register as a sex offender and will never teach again.

  • Bogus Buddy in Pasadena

    Mark Sonnenburg has a listing in the “Bad Bad Teacher” web site. They have extension links to other sites about him. I sure am happy, relieved Mr. Sonnenburg is in prison. I could never fall in love with a man, ooops, Monster like that !

  • testing

    testing 1,2, 3

  • Pasadena Folk

    Charlotte,
    you must have reliable info on this “animal”

    therefore our concern is post prison duty where does he go? back home in altadena and what keeps this piece of xxxx away from our children? going free back into the public in a couple of months does not give my husband confid. in the legal system.

  • Charlotte W.

    @ Pasadena Folk

    My knowledge comes as a result of being a victim in this case.

    The legal system did everything they could- please do not doubt that. The detective and the prosecutor did everything they could to make this case even happen. There were a lot of hurdles in the case- the biggest being that the police reports were filed 20 years apart.

    We, as the victims, approved the short jail term. It was closure, he was forced to admit what he did, and it required that he register as a sex offender upon his release in October. With this, he will never be able to teach again and he will be restricted in his ability to freely interact with children. Where he lives after his release is his decision. That information will all be available on the Megan’s Law website:

    http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/disclaimer.aspx

    I have said as much as I feel comfortable with on this very public venue. If you’d like to speak privately you can leave an email address and will contact you.

    Charlotte W

  • Anonymous

    (update on: Chelsea’s Law)
    being signed into law in San Diego, goes into effect immediately.

    here is the update:::

    The parents of a California teen who was raped and murdered by a sex offender this year will join Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger on Thursday as he signs into law a bill that increases penalties for certain sex offenses.

    Named after 17-year-old Chelsea King, “Chelsea’s Law” increases penalties for forcible sex acts against minors and mandates lifetime parole for certain sex offenders.

    Schwarzenegger will be joined by the teen’s parents, Brent and Kelly King, and the bill’s sponsor, Assemblymember Nathan Fletcher, as he signs it into law at Balboa Park in San Diego, California at 9:45 a.m. PT. The event will be webcast live at http://www.gov.ca.gov.

    “Chelsea’s Law” has an urgency clause attached to it that means it will take effect as soon as it is signed.

    Read more about “Chelsea’s Law” on CNN.com

    The bill creates a penalty of life without the possibility of parole for forcible sex crimes against minors that include aggravating factors, such as the victim’s age or whether the victim was bound or drugged.

    “Chelsea’s Law” also sets criteria for assessing the risk of recidivism and, based on that risk, placing certain paroled sex offenders under greater supervision.

    Registered sex offender John Gardner III has admitted to killing King and 14-year-old Amber Dubois. He was sentenced in April to three consecutive terms of life without parole for the murders and an attack on a jogger in a plea deal that spared him the death penalty.

    Dubois’ father is behind three assembly bills concerning law enforcement response to missing children. They are also awaiting Schwarzenegger’s signature.

  • Anonymous_

    Former Eagle Rock School Teacher Begins Jail Term

    By EGP News Service

    i1 Vote

    The victims of a former teacher who molested two 9-year-old girls in 1988, including one who attended the school where he worked, spoke out against him April 19 in court as he began serving a six-month jail term.

    My life has forever and will forever be impacted by these crimes, one of the victims, identified as Charlotte W., said during a hearing for Mark Walter Sonnenburg.

    The young woman called the 55-year-old former teacher a predator who targeted vulnerable little girls.
    Another victim, Sarah V., told him, You stole a part of my childhood that I will never get back.

    One of the victims was a student but not in Sonnenbergs class at Eagle Rock Montessori School, where he taught at the time. The crime did not occur at the campus, authorities said. The other girl was not a student.

    After the six-month jail term, Sonnenburg is expected to be ordered to serve five years on probation, register as a sex offender for life, undergo sex offender counseling and not be alone with minor children, according to Deputy District Attorney Ann Marie Wise.

    The women reported the crimes to law enforcement in October 2007, and charges were filed against him just under a year later.

  • Pasadena Folk

    At first we, my husband and self, started to believe in his innocent behavior but the documents have proven him to be an animal. Any person going after little girls has got to be real ugly sick.

    When will this animal be released? And for god sake where on earth would he be living? Please don’t tell us that he will go back to Altadena and just be another citizen.

    How can we track his family? How can we as a community keep tabs on this Altadena monster? If he is a registered sex offender, his physical address must be listed-correct?

    Why dosen’t he just stay in prison or get butt raped himself?

  • Anonymous

    To Pasadena folk: He has the right to live where he wants. And why would you want to track his family? They didn’t molest anyone. He will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life, and you can look that up on line and find out where he is. Remember, he is the sex offender, not anyone else in his family.

  • Anonymous

    A Checklist to Help Parents, Teachers and Counselors
    Spot an Adult’s Possible Sexual Interest in Children.

    1. Individuals who develop a special one-on-one relationship with one child.

    2. Individuals who spend excessive time alone with children who arent their own.

    3. Individuals who take photographs of children who arent their own.

    4. Teachers, coaches, activity providers, etc., who develop an intense ongoing relationship with a child who is not on their schedule (or roster) or who is no longer on their schedule (or roster, etc.)

  • Anonymous

    Mr. Sonnenburg is now on the Megan’s Law website:

    http://meganslaw.ca.gov/

  • Anonymous

    Where are all Mark’s student that defended him before he plead no contest? Where are you guys now?

  • Anomynous

    I went to The Walden School for 4 years of my life, 2 years of which were spent with Mark Sonnenburg. I am a boy and I do as a matter of a fact remember very clear the manner in which Mark brought about class on daily basis. None of which includes being a child molester. He is a kind, loving, man. Even outside of school, I have seen him in Vromans numerous times where he still continues his amazing personality. He is a very respectable man with a lovely family. I was in shock when I heard that he was accused of being a child molester. Now I know for a fact that Mark Sonnenburg would never ever do this. These accusations have no evidence and for all we know can be false. Mark, I have faith in you. Your teachings are out there even if you are not. You have spread kindness and you will always have a place in my heart. You are one of the few teachers who have had an impact in my life. God bless you.

  • Anonymous

    To the recent post of 08/27/2011

    BELIEVE IT!!!!!!

    Mark plead “no contest” to these crimes which is the same as a guilty plea. He is a registered sex offender in California and will never teach again. He did commit these crimes and probably many more.