Bronxville Therapist Sentenced To Five Years For Sexual Abuse

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Mark Bernardini, a North Salem therapist, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two patients.
Mark Bernardini, a North Salem therapist, was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually assaulting two patients. Photo Credit: Courtesy of Westchester District Attorney's Office

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- A North Salem family therapist who also had an office in Bronxville was sentenced to five years in state prison for sexually abusing two patients.

Mark Bernardini, a 57-year-old North Salem resident was sentenced after pleading guilty in January to one count of criminal sexual act in the first degree, a Class B violent felony and one count of forcible touching, a Cass A misdemeanor, according to Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore

Bernardini will also be subject to fifteen years of post release supervision.

Last May, Bernardini, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, inappropriately touched a 19-year-old woman that he was counseling at his home office in North Salem, according to DiFiore.

The victim told her parents, who contacted the New York State Police, according to DiFiore.

Last July at his office in Bronxville, Bernardini also engaged in sexual contact with a 12-year-old boy that he was counseling, according to DiFiore.

The victim told his family after the session and they immediately contacted the Bronxville police.

The defendant was arrested outside of his office later that day by the Bronxville police.

“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," DiFiore said. "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."

Upon his release Bernardini will have to register as a sex offender under the provisions of Megan’s Law.

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Comments (6)

I have worked in the criminal justice field specifically at Bedford Correctional Facility in Bedford Hills NY. I live in North Salem. I believe that this sentence is a gross miscarriage of justice. How can a man (white) receive only 5 years of prison time for violating young girls, the scars of which will stay will them for a lifetime. I was personally sexually violated as a 15 year old and still work with the consequences of that experience, i.e. not trusting men, dressing down and carrying excess weight on my body as protection (albeit on a subconscious level for most of my life-I am 50). This society is a patriarch where men, primarily white men are given a free pass for their indiscretions i.e. wall street executives who crash the economy and local authority figures, i.e. recently this local therapist, the Mount Pleasant police chief who was trafficking child porn and the Westchester basketball coach convicted of abusing 5 youth. I have met women who are serving 20 to life sentences for far lesser crimes. We all know that these men will have their sentences reduced and be out before we can blink. The issue here is the length of sentence and the unspoken "boys club" that exists across all sectors of this society. I personally support rehabilitation for all those involved in the criminal justice field, everyone is a victim as I have noted in a previous post. Everyone is worthy of compassion and a consistent and equal justice system. Agreeing on how to achieve this is the challenge we must face together.

Unfortunately, people with this problem cannot be rehabilated to be around children, or ant adults seeking counseling. I think 25 years in prison, and at his age he won't be able to do anything. Then you can register him as a sex offender.

If you read his web site he describes just exactly what went haywire in his own mind- This illness festered and grew, probably never seeing the healing light of day in his own therapy.

Clearly this is not a well man- So terrible he destroyed his life with his own "loop"

Is there something in the water in Westchester County? This week multiple stories of middle aged men in authority positions engaging in sexual acts with minors or peddling child porn. We need to be asking deeper questions about the mental health of our society. People don't simply say, "Hey I think I will abuse a young person today" there are deep psychological issues that are at the heart of these behaviors that can be attributable to childhood experience, media imagery, culture, mental illness, substance use etc... Because we live in a punishment society with an adversarial criminal justice system there is limited conversation about WHY these men have acted in this way. Everyone is a victim here...

Don't rely on outsiders. There's some good advice. Mommy and Daddy are the best therapists. And you wonder why there's a waiting line to jump off the Tapan Zee bridge.

This is yet ANOTHER reason to work your problems out with your family. Therapists don't REALLY give a crap about anyone. It's about the almighty dollar so don't be fooled. Granted some people truly need help and there are some respectable therapists out there.

Don't rely on OUTSIDERS. get strong and become self reliant people.