A man convicted of sexually abusing elementary school students in Silver Spring, Maryland, has been sentenced to 80 years in prison with all but 48 years suspended.
John Vigna, 50, was sentenced on Friday after he was convicted in June on four counts of sex abuse of a minor and five counts of third-degree sex offense. He was found to have touched children inappropriately.
Vigna was teaching at Cloverly Elementary School before he was arrested in June 2016 for allegedly touching two girls inappropriately. Three more victims later came forward. Vigna taught third, fourth and fifth grades over a span of 20 years at the school.
Vigna testified during a weeklong trial that he never had intentional inappropriate contact with students. A crowd of supporters, including fellow teachers, said outside the courtroom Friday that Vigna never intended to hurt children.
A woman in her 20s reported to police Vigna sexually abused her when she was a student at Cloverly Elementary between 2000 and 2002.
Two girls also reported Vigna sexually abused them in recent years at the school. One girl said the abuse occurred during the 2013-2014 school year; the other said he abused her during the 2015-2016 school year.
In a letter to parents in June 2016, principal Melissa Brunson called the allegations against Vigna "disturbing and disappointing."
"This behavior does not reflect the principles and values of Cloverly Elementary School, MCPS or our community, and it will not be tolerated or ignored," Brunson said.
In addition to teaching, Vigna coached junior varsity baseball at Paint Branch High School.