Christine Pelisek
March 30, 2018 07:06 PM

Police are searching for additional possible victims of Michael Leslie Bernback more than two years after the California businessman — who appeared on an episode of Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker in 2011 — was accused of rape.

Bernback, 65, was initially arrested on Aug. 13, 2015, in connection with the alleged rape of two women at his Sherman Oaks home.

The charges at that time included sexual penetration by a foreign object, attempted sodomy by use of force, forcible rape, forcible oral copulation, rape by use of drugs, rape of an unconscious person and two counts of administering drug to commit rape.

Bernback has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial after posting bail. When reached by PEOPLE, his attorney Blair Berk declined to speak on the record about the case.

Los Angeles police say they now know of at least eight suspected victims, who range in age from 35 to 20, including a college student who came forward in November. Bernback has not been charged in connection with any of the additional women’s allegations.

“So far, every one of them has described the same type of [pattern] and it is very distinct,” LAPD Lt. Jim Gavin tells PEOPLE. “I would say he is a serial sexual predator.”

Bernback allegedly met the women on adult websites.

“Most of these girls were going there with the idea they were having sex with him,” Gavin explains. “There is no argument there. The problem is he went over the line.”

“It is the worst case we have had in our division,” he adds. “This is not what these girls signed up for. This online dating is dangerous — and that is why I called it the ‘house of horrors.’ You don’t know what you are getting yourself into.”

• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.

Los Angeles Police Department

Police began looking at Bernback in 2013 after receiving a report of an alleged sexual battery, Gavin says.

“And then all of a sudden a stream, every three or four months, another type of sexual case was being brought to our attention with Bernback as a suspect,” he says. “We reached out to other divisions and we found out there was a pattern.”

At a news conference on Thursday, one of Bernback’s alleged victims — who is not the college student who came forward in the fall — told reporters that she met him on a dating site in 2015 and after two months they decided to meet.

She said she told Bernback what she was willing and not willing to do. “Then I went to his house and the complete opposite happened,” the woman claimed, according to local TV station KTLA.

She said Bernback allegedly told her not to talk and when she did he slapped her.

The encounter with Bernback “ruined my life,” she said.

Millionaire Matchmaker‘s Patti Stanger wrote about Bernback’s appearance on her reality dating show soon after on her Bravo blog.

“Michael wants to have a baby breeder,” she wrote. “Now when someone comes to me at 58 years old needing a baby breeder — there’s no way. You’re going to get 38 and up — 38 and up that’s my bar. Take it or leave it. He agrees to it, but you can tell he’s pissed off.”

With eight possible victims so far, police believe there are others that have not come forward.

“We suspect there are many other victims and they may be embarrassed or afraid to come forward,” LAPD Capt. Lillian Carranza tells PEOPLE. “But today, with the ‘Me Too’ movement, I think it is important for our victims of sexual assault whether it is male or female that they know that the system does work and there are systems in place to help them through the process.”

“We definitely believe there are many many more victims and that is why we are trying to reach out and let them know we are here for them and they won’t be alone,” Carranza says.

Anyone with information is asked to call Van Nuys Detective Householder at 818-374-0010, 818-374-0040 or 877-527-3247 during weekend or nonbusiness hours. Anonymous tips may be called into 800-222-8477.

You May Like

EDIT POST