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Family Therapist Pleads Guilty to Sexually Abusing 2 Patients

North Salem family therapist Mark Bernardini, 57, pleaded guilty on Thursday to sexually abusing two patients he was counseling, one of whom was a 12-year-old boy, Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore said in a statement.

Bernardini, who was arrested in July and in June of 2013 for both incidents, pleaded guilty to one count of Criminal Sexual Act in the First Degree, a class “B” Violent Felony, and one count of Forcible Touching, a class “A” Misdemeanor. 

At his sentencing on Feb. 19, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in state prison and 15 years post-release supervision.

According to DiFiore, Bernardini "inappropriately touched a 19-year-old woman that he was counseling at his home office in North Salem" in May of 2013. And in July, Bernardini "engaged in sexual contact with a 12-year-old boy that he was counseling" while at his Milburn Street office in Bronxville.

"The courage displayed by both young victims in this case in immediately alerting their parents to what had transpired allowed police and prosecutors to quickly determine the predatory behavior of this defendant," DiFiore said in a statement. "He used his position of trust and authority to target and take advantage of his unsuspecting victims and instead of helping them with their vulnerabilities, he exploited them."

Bernardini, who lives on Peach Lake Road in North Salem, has been remanded to custody pending his sentencing. Upon his release from prison, he will also have to register as a sex offender under the provisions of Megan’s Law, DiFiore said. 

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Amy Puerto of the Special Prosecutions Division.

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