Jury Convicts Silver Spring Teacher of Sex Abuse

John Vigna | MCPD

A jury convicted a 50-year-old Silver Spring teacher of multiple sex abuse and sex offense charges against victims who were in third-, fourth- and fifth-grade.

John Vigna taught at Cloverly Elementary School in Silver Spring for more than 20 years. He will be sentenced Aug. 4, and sentencing guidelines suggest 20 to 40 years, State’s Attorney John McCarthy said at a press conference at Montgomery County Circuit Court on Monday.

The jury deliberated about nine hours, returning its verdict in the early morning hours of Saturday, according to the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. In his testimony, Vigna maintained that he never had intentional inappropriate contact with students. Each day during the trial, Vigna’s supporters “packed the courtroom,” McCarthy said.

Thomas C. Morrow, Vigna’s lawyer, told the Washington Post that Vigna, his family and supporters were “devastated” by the verdict.

“He continues to vehemently maintain that he had no intentional inappropriate contact with the complainants,” Morrow said.

The crimes involve touching, which means there is no DNA. McCarthy said the lack of DNA can make these kinds of sex offenses difficult to prosecute.

“At the time [the victims] experienced these particular events, the circumstances left them with the feeling that what was happening was weird. But it was only as they grew older, that they understood not only was it weird, but it was crime and it was a crime,” McCarthy said.

Vigna’s offenses involved five young women, the oldest was 24, but others were still in school. One victim was taking a body safety class, and as the instructors were teaching the course, they saw a visible, physical change in the victim’s demeanor.

The instructors asked the child about why she changed, and she described incidents with Vigna, McCarthy said. Her description led to the first charges against Vigna, and the publicity led other victims to come forward, he said.

Vigna was reprimanded in 2008, suspended three weeks in 2013 and received a letter of discipline in 2015, McCarthy said. At no time was anything brought to the State’s Attorney Office, McCarthy said.

In a prepared statement distributed at the press conference, county school Superintendent Jack Smith said, “In recent years, our school system has enhanced its policies and protocols for recognizing, preventing and reporting child abuse or neglect. We will continue to work with our partners in law enforcement and the community to ensure all students have a safe, welcoming place to learn.”

Here is Smith’s complete statement:


UPDATED: Police Charge Third Grade Teacher with Sexual Abuse of Minors (PHOTO)

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


One Response to “Jury Convicts Silver Spring Teacher of Sex Abuse”

  1. Avatar
    On June 13, 2017 at 7:12 pm responded with... #

    It’s lies! The jury was forced to stay until they had a verdict because judge “had a seminar to be at on Monday” he was favoring procecutor through entire trial! The procecutor wasn’t interested in the truth, only that she win! This innocent man was sent to prison but this is not over!

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