Two injured in Duarte motel fire

DUARTE — A couple were injured after a fire broke out at a local motel Tuesday night.
Los Angeles County Fire Capt. Mark Sotelo said the fire was restricted to one unit but caused minor smoke damage to another unit. He estimated damages at $75,000.
The sheriff’s arson investigators are looking into what started the fire, Sotelo said.
It happened at Rancho Inn, 1515 Huntington Drive, at 5:54 p.m.
There were two people in the unit where the fire occurred. Sotelo said a man suffered from second degree burns and smoke inhalation while a woman was treated for smoke inhalation.
Sotelo said the two were taken to Methodist Hospital of Southern California and were listed in stable condition.
About 45 firefighters responded to the first alarm fire which was knocked down at 6:30 p.m.

- Ruby Gonzales

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Former Duarte school teacher acquitted on child molestation charges

PASADENA – A jury Friday acquitted a former Duarte elementary school teacher of charges that he molested five students over more than a decade, officials said.

After more than a week of deliberation, the Pasadena Superior Court jury found Wade Bughman, 43, of Monrovia not guilty of all nine counts of child molestation, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison said.

Bughman, a longtime teacher at Beardslee Elementary School in Duarte, was arrested June 17, 2010, after five students and former students leveled allegations of sexual abuse dating back to 1998.

“Obviously, we’re thrilled and overjoyed that the jury acquitted an innocent man, in our opinion,” said Los Angeles-based attorney Leonard Levine, who represented Bughman.

FULL STORY

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Former Duarte school teacher acquitted of child molestation charges

PASADENA — A jury Friday acquitted a former Duarte elementary school teacher charged with molesting five students over more than a decade of all charges, officials said.
After more than a week of deliberation, the Pasadena Superior Court jury found Wade Bughman, 43, of Monrovia not guilty of all nine counts of child molestation, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokeswoman Jane Robison said.
Bughman, a longtime teacher at Beardslee Elementary School in Duarte, was arrested June 17, 2010, after five students and former students leveled allegations of sexual abuse dating back to 1998.
The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta. Bughman was represented in court by Los Angeles-based attorney Leonard Levine.

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Duarte middle school teacher accused of indecent exposure at Glendora home

A Duarte School teacher has been arrested on suspicion of indecent exposure for allegedly exposing and touching himself on the balcony of his Glendora apartment earlier this month, officials said
Steven Wilcoxon, 58, was arrested Tuesday afternoon after turning himself in at the Glendora Police Department, Glendora police Lt. Brian Summers said.
He was booked on suspicion of a misdemeanor count of indecent exposure and being held in lieu of $50,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, authorities said.
He is a teacher at Northview Intermediate School in Duarte, which is part of the Duarte Unified School district, the lieutenant said.
The warrant was obtained following two weeks of investigation after witnesses at a business across the street from Wilcoxon’s apartment in the 600 block of W. Route 66 in Glendora called police shortly after 11:20 a.m. Nov. 12 to report the alleged indecency, officials said.
Summers said witnesses reported seeing Wilcoxon walking nude on his third floor balcony, and sitting in the threshold of his balcony while mastubating in public view. One of the witnesses took a cell phone image.
Upon responding to the indecent exposure call, “Officers attempted to make contact with the suspect at his apartment, however, he could not be located at the time,” police said in a written statement.
Through a photographic line-up, three witnesses identified Wilcoxon as the man they saw exposing himself on the balcony.
Wilcoxon cooperated with detectives as the investigation continued in the following days, Summers said.
“Searching his apartment, detectives located evidence that corroborated a photograph that was taken by one of the witnesses with a cell phone camera at the time of the incident,” according to the police statement.
After detectives presented their evidence to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, an arrest warrant was issued for Wilcoxon Tuesday, Summers said. He promply turned himself in.
Police found no similar allegations leveled against Wilcoxon in the past.
“There’s absolutely zero indication hes been accused of any sex crimes,” Summers said.
He identified himself to police as an 8th grade science teacher at Northview Intermediate School, Summers said.
DUSD Assistant Superintendent of Personnel and Student Service Miriam Fox said Wilcoxon was not expected to be back in a classroom in the immediate future.
Since his arrest, “We’ve had no contact with him,” she said. “Based on his arrest and charges, this would be a compulsory leave situation.”
Fox emphasized that the alleged incident did not involve children or the school.
“We are always concerned about the well-being of our schools, our students,” she added.
The arrest occurred during closing arguments in the trial of another Duarte Unified School District Teacher accused of molesting five students over 15 years.
Beardslee Elementary School teacher Wade Bughman, 43, of Monrovia, is charged with nine counts of child molestation steming from the alleged abuse of students between ages 7 and 12.

PHOTO of Steven Wilcoxon courtesy of the Glendora Police Department

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Prosecutor: Former Duarte teacher a sick pedophile who preyed on elementary school Latinas

Accused pedophile Wade Bughman

Accused pedophile Wade Bughman’s defense attorney today will tell a Pasadena Superior Court jury that his client didn’t molest students at a Duarte elementary school.
Prosectuors told a different story on Tuesday. Here’s what Brenda Gazzar reported.

Closing arguments began Tuesday for the trial of Wade Bughman of Monrovia, 43, who was charged with crimes of a sexual nature against five girls over a period of 15 years while he taught at Beardslee Elementary School in Duarte.

The nine counts against Bughman include oral copulation of a person under 14, the crime of continual sexual abuse, forcible rape, sexual penetration with a foreign object and lewd acts upon a child.

With enlarged photos of the five young girls smiling behind her, Los Angeles County Deputy District Attorney Debra Archuleta told jurors the girls endured physical, emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of a pedophile that robbed them of their innocence.

Many of the girls were shy or submissive and some sat in the back of the classroom, she said. They were allegedly molested at lunch, during recess or after school in the “Think Together Program.”

Some of the girls in his class called him “rapist” and had code words to warn others they needed help, Archuleta said. She described Bughman as a “practiced and skilled manipulator” in satisfying his own lusts and desires.

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Frank Pastore remains in critical condition following motorcycle crash

LOS ANGELES — Christian radio show host and ex-Major League Baseball pitcher Frank Pastore remained hospitalized in critical condition over the weekend following a motorcycle crash Monday, hospital officials said.
Pastore, 55, was suffered major head injuries Nov. 19 in a motorcycle crash on the 210 Freeway near Buena Vista Street in Duarte, according to California Highway Patrol officials.
He has remained in critical condition in an intensive care unit ever since, according to Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Saca.
“There hasn’t been any change in his condition,” she said Sunday.
The 55-year-old Upland resident and host of “The Frank Pastore Show” on KKLA 99.5 FM fell into a coma following the crash, family members said.

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Hospital: Frank Pastore remains in critical condition following Duarte motorcycle crash

Christian radio personality and former major league baseball player Frank Pastore remained in critical condition in an intensive care unit Friday after being severely injured in a motorcycle crash in Duarte earlier this week.
Pastore, 55, of Upland, who hosts the “Frank Pastore Show” on KKLA 99.5 FM, suffered major head injuries shortly after 7:30 p.m. Monday as he was riding his Honda Shadow motorcycle east in the carpool lane of the Foothill (210) Freeway near Buena Vista Street when he was sideswiped by a car and collided with the center divider, California Highway Patrol officials said.
The baseball pitcher-turned religious radio host was in a coma following the crash, family members said.
Initially hospitalized in critical condition, Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center spokeswoman Rosa Saca said Friday his condition was “unchanged.”
“It’s difficult to tell at this point what the outcome will be,” she said.
The cause of the crash was being investigated by the Baldwin Park office of the CHP, however intoxicated driving or other crimes were not suspected, according to CHP Sgt. Kurt Stormes.
The 56-year-old Glendora woman who was driving the Hyundai Sonata that collided with Pastore has not been arrested or cited.

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Officials continue extra patrols at Duarte organization linked to inflammatory film

DUARTE — Sheriff’s officials Thursday continued sending extra patrols to a Duarte nonprofit which produced an anti-Muslim film blamed for a fatal attack on the U.S. embassy in Libya earlier this week, but reported no problems at the facility.
Deputies from the sheriff’s Temple Station began conducting additional patrols at the Media for Christ building, just south of the 210 Freeway, Wednesday after it was linked to the the film, “The Innocence of Muslims.”
“There hasn’t been any activity at the location, other than a few news cameras,” Lt. Ignacio Samoano said.
But deputies were continuing to keep an extra eye on the building due to it’s connection to the controversy, he added.
The film’s negative portrayal of the the prophet Mohammed is blamed for inciting protests at U.S. embassies in countries including Libya, Egypt and Yemen.
Killed in an attack Wednesday at the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi was U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, along with three other Americans.
Authorities said the facility had taken out permits for to make the film in 2006. The movie was filmed in Santa Clarita, but produced at the Duarte-based organization.
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UPDATE: Woman at motel robbed by masked gunman in Duarte

DUARTE — A masked, armed man robbed a woman of her purse in the lobby of a Duarte motel Sunday, officials said.
The heist was reported about 11:20 a.m. at the Days Inn, 1533 Huntington Drive, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Haynes said.
The robber was described only as a man wearing a ski mask, wearing black clothing and carrying a gun.
The robber escaped with a woman’s purse, containing personal items and a small amount of money, and was last seen running on the east side of the building, deputies said.
No injuries were reported.
A similar crime was reported earlier this month on May 18 in South El Monte, though it was not clear whether it was related to Sunday’s robbery.
In the South El Monte crime, two robbers — a black man and a black woman — wearing ski masks and armed with a handgun robbed a man and woman about 8:30 a.m. in the lobby of the Ramada Hotel, 1089 Santa Anita Avenue, according to Lt. Ignacio Somoano.
The two robbers were last seen fleeing the area in a black Honda driven by a Latina woman, officials added.
Anyone with information on either crime is asked to call the sheriff’s Temple Station at 626-285-7171.
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Suspicious powder prompts evacuation of Duarte Wal-Mart; no threat found

DUARTE — A strange powder that prompted the evacuation of a Wal-Mart store Thursday was found to be harmless, authorities said.
Officials ordered the evacuation of Wal-Mart, 1600 Mountain Ave., about 2:45 p.m. after an “unknown powder” was discovered on cash that had been dropped off by an armored transport company, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Sgt. Richard Mariscola said.
After cordoning off the area, a hazardous materials team was called in to inspect the power.
While it was unclear what the powder was, “Hazmat teams were unable to detect any source of chemical, biological, radiological and or nuclear-based substance,” Mariscola said.
The store then resumed normal operation.

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