PASADENA — A Duarte elementary school teacher pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he molested seven current and formers students over the past twelve years.
Wade Bughman, 41, of Monrovia was a 6th grade teacher at Beardslee Elementary School in Duarte when Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials began investigating him in April, sheriff’s and Duarte Unified School District officials said.
Through his attorney, John Tyre, Bughman denied wrongdoing.
“At this point we’re denying all allegations and anything that is alleged against him,” Tyre said. “Obviously that’s our position – that he didn’t do anything.”
Tyre declined to discuss the specifics of the case.
Bughman is charged with 11 felony counts of child molestation — including continuous sexual abuse of a child under 14 and forcible rape — for alleged molestations of girls between the ages of 7 and 12.
Prosecutor Debra Archuleta could not be reached for comment Friday.
He was put on leave from his position at the elementary school as soon as the investigation began, DUSD officials said. He taught several grade levels since he began working for the school in 1993.
Bughman was arrested June 17 at his parents’ home in Apple Valley, sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Pasadena Superior Court Judge Terry Smerling reduced Bughman’s bail from $2.1 million to $700,000, Tyre said.
Tyre said he didn’t know of Bughman would be able to raise that amount.
Bughman is due back in Pasadena Superior Court July 29, where attorneys will set a date for a preliminary hearing, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Shiara Davila-Morales said.
In a preliminary hearing, lawyers for the prosecution and defense present their cases to a judge, who decides whether there is sufficient evidence to require a defendant to stand trial.
Though the charges against Bughman date back to 1997, Whitmore said sheriff’s officials suspect the molestations may go back further.
Anyone with information regarding the case was asked to call the sheriff’s Special Victims Bureau, 866-247-5877.
PHOTO of Wade Bughman courtesy of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department