Licensed Social Worker Gets 5 Years For Sexually Abusing 2 Patients
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A licensed clinical social worker in Westchester County was sentenced Wednesday for sexually abusing two patients in less than a month last year.
Mark Bernardini, of North Salem, N.Y., was sentenced to five years in state prison and fifteen years post-release supervision, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said.
Bernardini pleaded guilty to one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree and one count of forcible touching back in January of this year.
According to the district attorney, on May 16, 2013 Bernardini inappropriately touched a 19-year-old woman while he was counseling her at his home office on Peach Lake Road.
The woman notified her parents who then contacted New York State Police.
On July 2, 2013, Bernardini engaged in sexual contact with a 12-year-old boy that he was counseling at his office on Milburn Street in Bronxville, DiFiore said.
The boy told his family after the session and they immediately contacted Bronxville police.
The 58-year-old was arrested by Bronxville police outside of his office later that day.
“This defendant used his position of trust and authority as a therapist to target, take advantage of and exploit for his own desires these two unsuspecting victims. Instead of helping them with their vulnerabilities, he used them. The courage displayed by both young victims in this case in immediately alerting their parents to what had transpired resulted in this defendant being held accountable today,” said DiFiore.
Following Bernardini’s release, he will have to register as a sex offender under the provisions of Megan’s Law.
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