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Paul Douglas Burdick, who was also a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, groped his students.

COURTESY PHOTO - Paul Douglas BurdickA former Portland Community College driver education instructor who was convicted of sexually abusing students by groping and harassing them was sentenced in a Washington County court on Thursday, Feb. 20.

Paul Douglas Burdick, a part-time instructor at PCC's Willow Creek campus until 2018, pleaded guilty to six counts of third-degree sexual abuse in January and was sentenced to six months in the Washington County Jail, along with five years of formal probation with sex offender treatment, by Washington County Circuit Judge Andrew Erwin.

The abuse allegedly took place from 2012, the year Burdick was hired, until 2018, the year PCC placed Burdick on administrative leave. He was fired from the position in April 2019.

Burdick had been previously suspended after he was first accused of sexual abuse in 2016.

Two teenage girls reported to their parents in 2016 that Burdick inappropriately touched them during driver's ed classes. Investigators said Burdick also directed students to perform jumping jacks and attempted to record them on his cellphone.

The Washington County Sheriff's Office did not immediately proceed with charges after investigating the allegations, said a statement from the Washington Couty District Attorney's Office on Monday.

In September 2019, another student came forward with a similar allegation, and the Sheriff's Office began investigating Burdick again.

A warrant gave investigators access to a list of Burdick's former students, and the investigation led to more than a dozen additional students reporting abuse.

"These new allegations allowed this office to move forward with formal charges against the defendant, ultimately leading to his conviction on the above charges," the District Attorney's Office said.

Burdick was also a bishop in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints — a position loosely equivalent to a pastor or rabbi. He presided over the Hillsboro Latter-day Saints ward.

The church also removed Burdick from that position once it was notified of the allegations against him, the Sheriff's Office said.

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