PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Hillsboro man that worked as a Mormon leader and drivers education teacher was arrested after a year-long investigation into allegations of him sexually abusing his students.
The Washington County Sheriff’s Office arrested Paul Burdick on Thursday for allegedly abusing 15 of his drivers education students at Portland Community College.
The 48-year-old would allegedly grope students during tests and practice drives. He is also accused of making some students do jumping jacks as he tried to take videos on his phone. All of the victims are girls and young women.
Washington County Deputy Brian Van Kleef said Burdick was teaching drivers education since 2012, “so that’s 6 or 7 years of students that he was exposed to.”
PCC officials said he was hired in April 2012 for courses that took place at the Willow Creek Center.
Van Kleef said no abuse claims have come in from the church setting, only through the time Burdick spent teaching drivers ed.
Current and former students at PCC who spoke with KOIN 6 News said Burdick looks familiar.
“I think that’s creepy, so creepy, the face looks familiar,” student Noemi Rios said. “I go to PCC so it’s like whoa, no way something like that would happen that close to school.”
Former student Karl Anderson was concerned. “Anybody like that, any type of predatory thing like that, to me is a huge threat. So I think it has to be addressed, for sure.”
Burdick was also the bishop of the Hillsboro Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.
Detectives said both PCC and the LDS church were cooperative in their investigation and took steps to remove him immediately.
Detectives charged him with 15 counts of sex abuse but have identified 20 total victims. They strongly believe that more victims are out there.
Burdick’s bail is set at $150,000 — and it’s not the first claim against him. He’s scheduled to appear in court on September 17 at 8:30 a.m.
If anyone has more information is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 503.846.2700.
KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.