Yakima County law enforcement is looking for a 40-year-old female teacher who allegedly had sex with a minor student and severed several others with liquor. Bertha Adriana Cerna, a Toppenish High School teacher are likely to be arrested after an investigation by the school district revealed that she had sex with a student when he was a minor.
Bertha and her husband, John L. "Johnny" Cerna, were fired from the school district following the investigation and are now on the run. On Friday, the Yakima County Superior Court charged Cerna with first-degree sexual misconduct with a minor and two counts of furnishing liquor to minors.
Sex Addict Teacher
The charges follow after a former student recently confessed that Bertha had sex with him when he was a minor. Police have now issued a warrant for Bertha's arrest according to Yakima County Crime Stoppers.
Detectives from the Yakima County Sheriff's Office started investigating the case in June 2021 when a student informed another teacher about offensive texts Johnny Cerna sent to her. According to a probable cause affidavit, she admitted to detectives that she had received alcohol numerous times between January and April 2021 and that she occasionally drank.
Further investigation revealed more dangerous allegations. According to the complaint, a former student told investigators that Bertha and Johnny Cerna offered her alcohol at their house while she was a cheerleader. She also identified a recent graduate from Toppenish High School with whom Bertha had sex.
The boy later told investigators that Bertha invited her to her home on multiple occasions and offered her alcohol and drugs. At the house, they allegedly drank hard seltzers on multiple occasions.
Bertha is charged with describing to the witness her interactions with male pupils, even showing the witness pictures of their penises and text message threads. Bertha and the student can be seen holding open alcohol containers in several pictures and videos that were taken.
It is not known exactly when Cerna sexually abused the student.
The investigation was conducted by the sheriff's office through much of 2021 and 2022. The sheriff's office handed their investigation and recommendations for charges to the prosecutor, according to KIMA. After some time, the prosecutor's office sent the probe back, stating that additional proof was required before official charges could be brought.
Further investigations conclude that Johny Cerna had inappropriate online communications with a pupil, and Bertha supported such interactions. Additionally, it concluded that the Cernas' giving the student alcohol was "more probable than not."
Following a school district inquiry, Bertha and her husband were fired from the school district. An arrest warrant has now been issued in their name and they are likely to be arrested soon.
Johnny and Bertha are, respectively, the son and daughter-in-law of school superintendent John Cerna. According to court documents, Johnny Cerna has not been charged.
While Bertha taught and coached the wrestling cheer squad at the school, Johnny Cerna served as vice principal and the school's wrestling coach.