A Long Beach man who used to teach at a Huntington Beach high school was sentenced today to two years in prison and ordered to register as a sex offender for abusing a 17-year-old boy.
Earlier this month, Andrew Bueno-Potts, 43, pleaded no contest to one count of sodomy of a person under 18. Today, he wore handcuffs and a prison jumpsuit while he sat in a Long Beach courtroom and listened to the teenage victim explain how the abuse is still affecting him as he tries to move on with his life in college.
“Your honor, I was raped,” the now 19-year-old said. “… This man was not only supposed to know better, but do better. I trusted this man. Unfortunately, my youth, my naivety and lack of power was seen by him as an opportunity to sexually exploit me.”
The Long Beach Post is withholding the teen’s name because it generally does not identify victims of sexual crimes.
Prosecutors said Bueno-Potts abused the boy between July and August 2017 when he let the boy live with him at his home. The victim said he was not a student at Ocean View High School where Bueno-Potts taught, but they met at a school science fair.
Bueno-Potts gave the boy alcohol and alkyl nitrate, a chemical sometimes used as a euphoric inhalant, before abusing him at Bueno-Potts’ home near Wilson High School in Long Beach, authorities said. Police arrested Bueno-Potts in October.
The victim said he now suffers a myriad of issues stemming from the abuse, including post-traumatic stress disorder, night terrors, thoughts of suicide and problems with alcohol. He said he missed out on opportunities at school because of the case and also had to leave two jobs at his university “due to the psychological effects of the trauma.”
In addition to the prison sentence and lifetime sex-offender registration, Judge Daniel Lowenthal ordered Bueno-Potts to have no contact with the victim for 10 years.
“We’re all charged with protecting our youth and that’s especially with our teachers,” Lowenthal said. “… When that bond is broken, the victim is not the only one affected, but the whole community.”
Paul Mones, the victim’s advocate and attorney, said the abuse was a direct result of an inadequate hiring process used by the school district in Huntington Beach.
Mones said he will represent the victim in a lawsuit against school officials. A representative for the Huntington Beach Union High School District, which operates Ocean View High School, did not immediately return a message.
Mones said he believes there are other victims of Bueno-Potts who have yet to come forward. Although the victim is satisfied with the final outcome of this case, he believes Bueno-Potts could have received a harsher sentence.
“This crime had a crippling affect on his life,” Mones said. “Mr. Potts is only going to be doing two years in prison. That’s getting off lightly.”
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