Mon | May 25, 2020

Florida teacher sought castration not prison, gets 12 years

Published:Thursday | May 21, 2020 | 12:44 PM
This undated photo provided by the Escambia County Jail shows inmate Mark Lua, a former Florida high school teacher was sentenced to 12 years in prison on Wednesday, May 20, 2020, for sexually abusing students after the judge ignored his request to be castrated instead. (Escambia County Jail via AP)

PENSACOLA, Florida (AP) — A former Florida high school teacher was sentenced to 12 years in prison for sexually abusing students after the judge ignored his request to be castrated instead.

Mark Lua, 32, told Circuit Judge Thomas Dannheisser on Wednesday that he wanted to raise his daughter and would volunteer for castration if that would spare him a prison sentence, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

The former English teacher at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola pleaded guilty last year to promoting a sexual performance by a child, unlawful sexual activity with minors and two counts of unlawful sexual activity with minors.

Prosecutors say he sexually assaulted an 18-year-old former student, had sex with an underage student, and coerced another to send him a sexually explicit video.

“My actions were despicable,” Lua said.

“I do believe that punishment is necessary, and I am requesting chemical castration not only as a punishment but as an act of solidarity to show how sorry I am for everything. If your honour is so inclined, I am even willing to undergo physical castration if that way I can stay home and raise my daughter.”

Judge Dannheisser ignored the request before issuing his sentence. Prosecutor Erin Ambrose told the judge Lua targeted vulnerable girls.

“He seemed to seek out girls that came from unstable or troubled homes,” Ambrose said.

“He manipulated them, and he betrayed them because he was a teacher.”

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