A Florida teacher convicted of multiple sex crimes involving students begged a judge for castration instead of prison time

Mark Lua, a former English teacher at Booker T. Washington High School, was sentenced to 12 years in federal prison, followed by 15 years of probation, after he pleaded guilty to an array of sex offenses involving his students.Tony Giberson/Reuters
  • Mark Lua, a former Florida teacher, pleaded guilty last year to charges related to the sexual abuse of students.
  • Last week, during his sentencing hearing, Mark Lua asked for chemical castration instead of a prison sentence.
  • The judge ignored his request and sentenced him to 12 years in prison, according to the Pensacola News Journal.

A former Pensacola, Florida, teacher who pleaded guilty last year to sex offenses involving students begged a judge last week to consider ordering him to be castrated instead of sentencing him to prison, the Pensacola News Journal reported.

Mark Lua, a former high school English teacher, was arrested three times last year after allegations arose that he coerced a student into sending him an inappropriate video, had sex with an underage student, and that he had sexually assaulted an 18-year-old former student. He ultimately pleaded guilty to multiple sex crime charges that arose from the allegations.

Mark Lua, a former Florida high school teacher, was sentenced to 12 years in prison on May 20, 2020.Escambia County Jail via AP
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"My actions were despicable to say the least," Lua said in court. "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. 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."

The judge didn't respond to Lua's request and sentenced him to 12 years in state prison, followed by 15 years of probation, the paper reported.

In an effort to coerce underage girls to send him inappropriate videos, Lua made a profile pretending to be the cosplayer and Instagram influencer Courtney Carmody, the News Journal reported.
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"He seemed to seek out girls that came from unstable or troubled homes," Assistant State Attorney Erin Ambrose said during Lua's court hearing. "He manipulated them, and he betrayed them because he was a teacher."

At Lua's sentencing hearing, he told the court he suffered from a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis that has caused numerous painful, tumorous growths. Lua said he was suffering from frequent panic attacks around the time of his crimes because of fears and concerns about the disease, the paper reported. Ambrose dismissed that idea in court.Advertisement

"This condition did not seem to debilitate him while he was trolling the halls, looking for students to have sex with," the prosecutor said, according to the News Journal.

Read the original story in the Pensacola News Journal »

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