Teacher who abused students begs judge for castration rather than jail

Graig Graziosi
Mark Lua: Escambia County Jail

In a desperate attempt to dodge jail time, a Florida teacher who pleaded guilty to sexually abusing students asked if the judge would order his castration instead.

Mark Lua, 32, is a former teacher and was accused of having sex with an underage girl, for sexually assaulting an 18-year-old former student and for trying to force a student to send him a sexually explicit video.

Last year, he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual activity with a minor and for promoting a sexual performance by a child.

The Pensacola News Journal reported that rather than spend time in prison, Mr Lua asked First Circuit Judge Thomas Dannheisser to castrate him.

"My actions were despicable. 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," Mr Lua said. "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."

Mr Lua's attempt at bargaining did not take hold, however, as Mr Dannheisser ignored the suggestion and sentenced him to 12 years in prison, with 15 years probation.

During his sentencing hearing, Mr Lua said he was suffering from genetic neurofibromatosis and accompanying tumors. He claimed that the tumors caused him to have panic attacks, and that he was suffering from those attacks at the time he was committing acts of sexual abuse.

Erin Ambrose, the prosecutor in the case, argued that Mr Lua's maladies didn't seem to stop him from assaulting people.

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

She painted Mr Lua as a predatory force in the school where he worked.

"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.

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