LAPD detectives urge other possible victims of sexual assault suspect to come forward

VAN NUYS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As a Sherman Oaks man suspected of sexually assaulting at least three women remained out on bail awaiting trial, Los Angeles Police Department detectives on Thursday urged other possible victims to come forward.

Michael Bernback, who was arrested in 2015, allegedly lured the women to his home with the promise of payment for sex and then attacked them, investigators say. According to police, the attacks occurred over the past five to seven years.

"I'm completely afraid all the time," said one of Bernback's alleged victims, who declined to be publicly identified. "To put this man away would be a very good thing because he's a very sick person.

"Now I have to go to therapy because I'm one of those girls that has problems now," she added. "I want none of his money. I want the maximum penalty. I will take no money."

Police said there are eight known victims, and Bernback faces 11 misdemeanor and felony counts. Detectives believe as many as 20 women may have been victimized by the suspect.

"One of the women texts her friend shortly after this incident: 'I shouldn't have gone -- you're right. I was raped,'" Lt. Jim Gavin, of the LAPD's Van Nuys Division, said at a news conference.

Bernback allegedly trolled adult hookup websites, where he contacted women and invited them -- two or three at a time -- to meet him at his Sherman Oaks home. They arrived consensually but then found themselves inside "a house of horrors," police said.

"There's a point that it's no longer consensual and becomes a crime," an LAPD captain said.

Bernback, a 66-year-old businessman, was once a contestant on the reality series "Millionaire Matchmaker." He has been charged with multiple sex-related felonies in the case.

According to police, two of his alleged victims have tried to commit suicide.

"They're college-age, away from home for the first time, and now they're totally alone because, how do you tell mom and dad what happened?" Gavin said.
Copyright © 2019 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.