Ex-Cutler Bay Senior High Teacher Convicted After Inappropriate Relationship with Student Denies Being the Aggressor

Bernardo Osorio was arrested in 2017 after admitting to having a sexual relationship with an underage student

Bernardo Osorio was a math teacher at Miami's Cutler Bay Senior High School in 2017 when he admitted to a sexual relationship with an underage student.

In a 2017 interview with Miami-Dade Schools Police, Osorio said the student performed oral sex on him at least three times, twice at the school.

"I told him what we are doing is something that we are not supposed to do," he recently told the NBC 6 Investigators.

According to police records, Osorio preyed on a vulnerable student who had lost his father just months before the abuse began. The student says he was 16 when the abuse occurred.

Osorio insisted to police that the young man was to blame.

"They know what they are doing. They are not angels. They know exactly what they want and they go for it," he said. "He is the one who initiated everything."

Osorio was arrested and charged with sexual battery.

Last year, he struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to three less serious charges of child abuse.

In a close-out memo, Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Laura Adams said the evidence was "overwhelming" but they opted for a "lenient plea offer" because the victim wanted to move on with his life and Osorio was not likely to reoffend.

Adams, who declined to discuss the case on camera, wrote in the memo that the student and the lead detective on the case were consulted with when the decision was made.

We interviewed Osorio at his South Florida home months after the case was closed.

Osorio, who acknowledged that the conversation was being recorded, told us a story similar to what he had told police two years before.

"I don't know if this is legal to say anything about it because the case is closed, but he is the one who insisted and I told him several times no, no, no and he wanted to do it, he wanted to do it," he said. "I, as an adult, made the wrong decision."

Osorio repeatedly said the victim was responsible.

"It's his fault, not mine. But I was the one who got crucified," he said.

The NBC 6 Investigators have found at least 40 South Florida teachers, including Osorio, who've been arrested or disciplined for sexual misconduct in the past two years.

And like other teachers included in our series of investigations, we found it wasn't the first time he was accused of inappropriate behavior.

Osorio's personnel file shows five previous complaints, some dating back more than a decade.

In 2009, he was investigated for inappropriate behavior including whispering into a student's ear and asking personal questions.

Two years later, he was accused of reaching down to open a student's zipper and making "sexual connotative comments."

Then, in 2013, he was investigated again for inappropriate comments.

All but one of the complaints was ruled unsubstantiated or with no probable cause.

"These institutions continually fail kids and make poor decisions," said attorney Jeff Herman. "You'd like to think that when you have a youth-serving organization, that they are always going to put safety first, err on the side of caution and I don't see that."

Herman, who has worked on several sexual abuse cases involving local teachers, says he is seeing more cases than ever before.

"When I started doing sex abuse cases in 1997, I never really anticipated that this would not only continue but actually the volume increase," he said.

At Osorio's sentencing hearing in May 2018, his former student read an emotional statement.

"While grieving my father's death, I unconsciously tried to find shelter in a father figure, leading to me to wrong place, a teacher who ended up sexually taking advantage of a fatherless child," he said.

The teen asked the judge not to show leniency.

"The same way he consciously decided to sexually abuse me, he must step up and face all the consequences of his actions thoroughly," he said. "Personally, I firmly believe that people like him, do not deserve to be free."

Osorio could have been sentenced to 15 years in prison after pleading guilty to the child abuse charges.

Instead, a judge sentenced Osorio to 10 years of probation. State records show that he is not registered as a sex offender.

The former teacher believes he didn't get a fair shake in court.

"I lost my reputation, my job, everything," he told the NBC6 Investigators. "It was very unfair, if you will, that all of this really had to happen."

The Miami-Dade School Board wouldn't comment about the previous complaints against Osorio. In a statement, a spokesperson said that Osorio resigned the day of his arrest in lieu of termination and can longer work in the district.

Last year, the school board settled a civil lawsuit with Osorio's victim.

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