A former Florida teacher who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing students begged a judge to castrate him as punishment — but was instead sentenced to 12 years behind bars, according to a report.
Mark Lua, 32, made the unusual request to have his testicles removed in order to dodge prison time in Pensacola court Wednesday, the Pensacola News Journal reported.
“My actions were despicable,” Lua told First Circuit Judge Thomas Dannheisser. “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.”
He added, “If your honor is so inclined, I am even willing to undergo physical castration if that way I can stay home and raise my daughter.”
But the judge ignored his request before handing down the sentence, along with 15 years of probation.
Lua, a former English teacher at Booker T. Washington High School in Pensacola, had sex with an underage girl and sexually assaulted an 18-year-old former student, according to prosecutors. He is accused of coercing a third student to send him a sexually explicit video.
He pleaded guilty last year to unlawful sexual activity with a minor and promoting a sexual performance by a child.
On Wednesday, prosecutor Erin Ambrose told the judge he preyed on vulnerable girls.
“He seemed to seek out girls that came from unstable or troubled homes,” she said. “He manipulated them, and he betrayed them because he was a teacher.”
During the sentencing hearing, Lua also claimed to suffer from the genetic disorder neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors. He said he often had panic attacks during the time of the sexual abuse.
“If I’m with my family or when I might sit down and read a book, I think about the tumors, and I think ‘Oh my God, this might be my last day on earth,’ ” Lua said.
But Ambrose brushed off his plea for sympathy.
“This condition did not seem to debilitate him while he was trolling the halls, looking for students to have sex with,” she said.
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