Toppenish High School teacher wanted for allegedly having sex with student

Toppenish

Bertha Adriana Cerna is wanted out of Toppenish for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a student at the high school where she was employed (via Yakima County Crime Stoppers)

TOPPENISH, Wash. — Yakima County law enforcement is searching for 40-year-old Bertha Adriana Cerna: A Toppenish High School teacher who is accused of having a sexual relationship with at least one former student and providing alcohol to many more.

The Yakima County Crime Stoppers list her as being 5-foot-1 and weighing approx. 145 lbs with black hair and hazel eyes. She has tattoos on her left arm, right arm and right shoulder. If you have information to contribute to this search, click here to submit a tip online.

A probable cause statement obtained by KAPP-KVEW shows that she is wanted for first-degree Sexual Misconduct with a Minor and Furnishing Liquor to Minors between Jan. 2020 and July 2021.

The statement details an underaged witness who claims the Toppenish High School teacher offered her liquor and marijuana on various occasions when the student visited her home. They allegedly drank hard seltzers at the residence on several occasions.

Cerna is accused of detailing sexual relationships with male students to the witness, even going as far as to show photos of their penises and text message threads.

Several photos and videos were obtained showing the teacher and student with open alcohol containers in view. However, Yakima County detectives have not found text messages depicting illegal sexual conversations at this stage of their investigation.

READ: Former Walla Walla band teacher cited in sexual abuse lawsuit

Another former student and cheerleader at Toppenish High School was contacted by investigators. During a recorded interview, she admitted that Cerna, her former coach, provided her with alcohol on several occasions. The witness also alleged that she knew Bertha had a sexual relationship with a student in her daughter’s graduating class in 2020.

Following numerous attempts, detectives finally got in contact with the male student who they believed to have had a sexual relationship with Cerna when he was 17. Authorities say he admitted to having personal experience in the case, eventually agreeing to go on the record.

He claimed that Cerna visited his apartment two days before his graduation in 2020 to discuss making an appearance with a student group at the upcoming ceremony. She is accused of hugging him and becoming quite flirty before driving to a nearby baseball field, where they allegedly had sex in the car.

The probable cause statement includes a claim by the former Toppenish High School student that he was offered what he believed to be cocaine during their relations. He accused her of trying to meet up frequently after their first sexual encounter, to which he declined until finally, he agreed to visit their home.

He claimed that upon arrival, she “pulled him out of his car and began taking his clothes off” shortly before his 18th birthday. They allegedly had sex for a second time before he turned 18. The probable cause statement concludes that their interactions continued after he became legal.

During one FaceTime call, she allegedly exposed her breasts. Authorities say he screenshotted the interaction and showed it to police, which they considered evidence since it “lends credibility to the fact that there was a sexual relationship between them in the past…”

Once they gathered this information, probable cause to charge Cerna with her aforementioned outstanding crimes was submitted.

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