Los Angeles County sheriff's investigators are seeking possible victims of sexual crimes that may have occurred in the Westlake Village and Thousand Oaks area from 1990 to 2001, authorities said Friday.
The search broadens the scope of an investigation into allegations that a Westlake Village youth pastor engaged in lewd conduct with three boys ages 13 to 14 from 1986 to 2001.
Timothy Bayne Bernstein, 40, of Thousand Oaks has been charged with 10 counts of committing lewd conduct between 1987 and 1991, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Bernstein surrendered to sheriff's deputies in Calabasas on March 30 after a warrant was issued for his arrest. He pleaded not guilty to the charges Tuesday and is being held in Men's Central Jail in lieu of $500,000 bond.
Bernstein has been identified by three victims, Det. Ronald Williams of the Sheriff's Department's Family Crimes Bureau said Friday, adding that authorities believe there may be additional victims.
One victim, now in therapy, recently told his therapist that he had engaged in lewd conduct with Bernstein more than a decade ago, Williams said.
The therapist, who is required by law to report any incidence of child abuse, contacted authorities, opening an investigation that led to Bernstein's arrest, Williams said.
The suspect's lawyer, Philip Dunn, said Bernstein told his therapist about the alleged acts during a therapy session in 1991.
Bernstein's therapist reported the matter to the Los Angeles County Department of Social Services, but there was no follow-up, the lawyer said.
"This is a man who realized that there was a problem, and he tried to correct it," Dunn said. "He has not re-offended in any way. In fact, he has had a dramatic born-again Christian experience, which is largely responsible for the fact that this sort of thing has not happened again."
Since his arrest, Bernstein has been placed on administrative leave from his position as director of elementary programs at Calvary Community Church in Westlake Village, according to a statement released by the church.
"We are in prayer for any families who may have been impacted by these alleged events," the statement said. "We trust that the judicial process will provide us with further insights and factual information that will allow us to make appropriate decisions."
Before joining the congregation in 1991 as a summer youth program director, Bernstein was a physical education teacher in the Conejo Valley Unified School District.