MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD — A former teacher at Cloverly Elementary School in Silver Spring has been convicted on 9 criminal charges, including 4 counts of child sex abuse and 5 counts of third degree sex offense.
John Vigna, 50, was a teacher at the elementary school before he was arrested last year. At the time of his arrest, police said he was a third grade teacher.
Court documents say that two 11-year-old victims disclosed sexual abuse. One of the students came forward after taking a “Personal Body Safety” class, according to court documents the victim told a teacher that Vigna had been squeezing her buttocks and asking her sit on his lap since August 2014 through February 2016.
Charging documents indicate that Vigna would ask for hugs from young girls and also would sit some girls on his lap and “rock them back and forth.” When one victim attempted to get up Vigna grabbed one victim by the hips and forced her back down into his lap. One of the initial victims said the same scenario was repeated between four to five times starting in 2014.
Vigna’s suspension from the classroom and the subsequent investigation resulted in further charges from victims that stretch back to 2001. One victim that talked to police is now in her twenties.
“He had been counseled by the school system on several occasions not to be in close proximity or not have bodily contact with these young girls,” said Roman Korionoff, a spokesman for the State’s Attorney’s Office in Montgomery County.
Vigna was spent 21 years at the school and was also a coach at a nearby middle school.
Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith said counseling has been provided to students since the reports surfaced and will continue to be to close out the school year.
“I recognize this has been an extremely difficult time for many students, families and staff members,” said Smith in a statement released to parents on Monday. “I express my deepest gratitude to the community for its patience and unwavering commitment to our students throughout this process.”
Vigna is set to be sentenced in August. He could face a maximum of 115 years in prison but Korionoff said he’s likely to serve between 20 to 40 years.