Former Washington Post ‘Teacher of the Year’ admits molesting 4th grader
June 26, 2015
Giovanni Pena, 31, pleaded guilty to
second-degree sexual abuse of a child Friday in D.C. Superior Court
Friday. Pena is expected to remain in jail until he’s sentenced Sept. 4
as a judge turned down his attorney’s request for bail, WTOP reports.
The Washington Post named Pena Teacher of the Year in 2011.
Pena admitted to inappropriately touching a fourth grade student’s
groin over his pants at Oyster Adams Bilingual School in August 2013 and
June 2014. He also sent the 10-year-old male student pictures of his
genitals trough Snapchat and asked the boy to return the favor, though
the child declined, WUSA 9 reports.
taught fourth grade at Oyster Adams. He had worked there since 2008 and
taught second and third grades as well,” according to the news site.
“Pena was also the track and field coach as well as a mentor with the
student government program.”
The second-degree sexual abuse felony carries a potential 10-year
prison sentence. Pena was also charged with misdemeanor obscenity, which
is punishable by up to 180 days in jail, WTOP reports.
Pena pleaded guilty to the charges as part of a plea deal in which
prosecutors agreed not to “seek any additional charges that predate the
agreement,” according to the site.
Proseuctors told Judge Michael Ryan at a hearing earlier this month
that Pena “was curious if a 10-year-old boy could get an erection,” and
told the child he “wished they were the same age.”
He also reportedly taught the boy about sperm and masturbation, WUSA 9 reports.
Pena’s defense attorney requested house arrest at the earlier
hearing, arguing his transgression happened in the classroom and he
won’t be returning there any time soon. He also said some parents have
submitted letters of support for Pena.
But the prosecution countered at the time that Oyster Adams parents
said they observed Pena with the victim in the past and “were
uncomfortable with their interactions,” according to the news site.
“The stealthy nature of the activity concerns me,” Ryan said in
remanding Pena earlier this month. “I will have a hard time putting in
place additions which would keep him from having access to the internet,
phones and the ability to communicate with a child.”
The above piece appears in full on EAGnews.org.