A jury sentenced a former Montgomery County school teacher to 48 years in prison after he was convicted of multiple sexual abuse charges
John Vigna, 50, of Silver Spring, worked as a school teacher at Cloverly Elementary School. He turned himself into authorities after some students said he had inappropriately touched them.
Vigna, a 26-year veteran of the Montgomery County Public Schools system, had originally been charged with engaging in inappropriate behavior with five different children. However, a jury ultimately convicted him of acting inappropriately with four different victims.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith released the following statement after Vigna was convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor and a third-degree sex offense in June:
"Our thoughts are with the Cloverly Elementary School community. I recognize that this has been an extremely difficult time for many students, families and staff members. I express my deepest gratitude to the community for its patience and unwavering commitment to our students throughout this process. MCPS will continue to provide additional counselors and support personnel to the school for the remainder of the year."
MCPS placed Vigna on paid administrative leave in February 2016.
According to Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy, Vigna had been reprimanded twice for his behavior in 2008. He said the school system then conducted two separate interventions with him in 2013 and 2015.
McCarthy said Vigna abused children over multiple years. He told WUSA9 he was pleased with the sentence that Vigna received in court.
"I'm sure that Mr. Vigna was kind and nice to many of his students, but he also acted improperly with them," he said.
Vigna did have a lot of support in court. At his sentencing, dozens of people showed up wearing shirts that said #VignaStrong.
His sister, Patti Assia, said Vigna was not a predator.
"I am solely disappointed in the judicial system," she said. "On this day, this wrong must be righted. We will remain 'Vigna Strong'."