A D.C. elementary school teacher was sentenced to eight years in prison for sexually assaulting six of his students.
Manuel Fernandez, who taught at Latin American Montessori Bilingual Charter School (L.A.M.B.), previously pleaded guilty Friday to two charges of second-degree child sexual abuse, one charge of attempted second-degree child sexual abuse and three charges of misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child.
"He secretly betrayed trust," the prosecutor said. "He changed a safe place in a child's life into a den of sexual abuse."
While teaching at L.A.M.B., he inappropriately touched many of his students, male and female, under and over their clothing, according to the plea documents.
The abuse occurred over three years, including at the school during games of hide and seek.
The mother of one victim told the judge Fernandez showed her son pornographic films and sexually abused him many times, including during a piano lesson at someone's home.
"I ask you to try to cut through the noise and judge him based on facts," Fernandez's wife said.
After serving his prison sentence, Fernandez will have at lease 25 years of supervised probation and will also be required to register as a sex offender for the remainder of his life. He also will not be allowed around juveniles other than his three children, who were students at L.A.M.B.
Earlier this week, the school board announced the dismissals of three administrators for improper handling of initial concerns about Fernandez's conduct with students.