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Youth Pastor Faces Charges of Lewd Conduct

April 06, 2001|ZANTO PEABODY | TIMES STAFF WRITER

A youth pastor in Westlake Village remained in jail Thursday on charges of lewd conduct with two teenage boys at least a decade ago, authorities said.

Timothy Bayne Bernstein, 40, of Thousand Oaks, was charged with 10 counts of lewd conduct between 1987 and 1991, said Sandi Gibbons, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. The charges are unrelated to his current job, authorities said.

Bernstein surrendered to Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies in Calabasas last week after a warrant was issued for his arrest.

He pleaded not guilty to the charges on Tuesday and is being held in Men's Central Jail on a $500,000 bond, Gibbons said.

Sheriff's deputies are seeking other possible victims, she said.

Since his arrest, Bernstein has been placed on administrative leave from his job as director of elementary programs at Calvary Community Church, according to a statement released by the church.

"It really was a complete surprise," said Jim Grubb, the church's administrator.

Grubb said no complaints of alleged wrongdoing by Bernstein have been reported to the church's leadership since he joined the staff in 1991 as a summer youth program director. "He's a conscientious individual and well-liked and well-respected," Grubb said.

Previously, he was a physical education teacher in the Conejo Valley school district, Gibbons said.

Authorities did not immediately have information available about where Bernstein worked when the alleged crimes took place.

Bernstein also held a child and family counselor's license from 1995 to 1996. His license had not been renewed, according to the state Board of Behavioral Sciences.

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Times staff writer Matt Surman contributed to this story.

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