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Married Florida teacher asks for castration as punishment for having sex with multiple students, gets 12 years

Detectives believe Mark Ryan Lua, 32, started grooming his victims when they were in his middle school classes
UPDATED MAY 21, 2020
(Escambia County Jail)
(Escambia County Jail)

PENSACOLA, FLORIDA: A former high school teacher from Escambia County, Florida, guilty of sexual intercourse with a student, on Wednesday, May 20, asked for physical or chemical castration instead of a prison sentence. The presiding judge, however, handed him a sentence of 12 years, according to reports.

The accused, 32-year old Mark Ryan Lua, was sentenced by the Escambia County Circuit Court Judge Thomas Dannheisser to 12 years in state prison, followed by at least 15 years of sexual offender probation. Lua was also designated as a sexual offender and will be required to comply with all sexual offender reporting requirements for the rest of his life, according to reported.

Lua was first arrested on January 17, 2019, after an investigation by local law enforcement revealed that he had been using a fake social media account. He was reportedly posing as his ex-girlfriend to encourage a female student to send him an explicit images of her to "relieve his stress." While being interviewed by Pensacola Police Department detectives, Lua admitted to using the fake account to get an explicit video from a student.

According to prosecutors in the case, shortly after the 32-year-old's arrest, multiple female students from the Washington High School came forward to allege and testify that Lua engaged in sexual intercourse with them at his home when his wife was away. One of the students' account was even corroborated through her text messages to him, however, he was not interviewed about those allegations, reports state.

Lua, however, on October 16, 2019, entered a plea of no contest to one count of promoting the sexual performance of a child and three counts of unlawful sexual activity with certain minors. Detectives in the case believe that he had begun grooming his victims when they were in his middle school classes. 

The 32-year old served as English teacher at Washington High School at the time of his initial arrest. Months after the incident emerged, the Escambia County School District announced that he had been removed from his position. Lua, before transferring to Washington, was teaching at Ferry Pass Middle School, Pensacola, Florida.

In a similar incident, it was revealed last week that an Arizona high school teacher, who was arrested in 2018 for sending sexually explicit messages to her 13-year-old student and engaging in sexual intercourse with him, may have been grooming another student as well. The former teacher, Daniel Zamora, received a 20-year-prison sentence in the Arizona State Prison Complex - Perryville, Goodyear. 

It was revealed last year that Zamora had begged the boy's father to not call the authorities. The victim's father, according to voice recordings presented in court, had confronted Zamora over the phone as she pleaded with the man to settle the matter without the involvement of authorities.

The 29-year-old was arrested in March 2018 and later pleaded guilty to sending sexually explicit messages to a sixth-grade student, molesting him, and grooming another minor in June 2019. Zamora was convicted of three felony charges; sexual conduct with a minor, molestation of a child, and public sexual indecency. Considering the conditions of her sentencing, Zamora cannot be released on good behavior, meaning she will continue to serve her sentence until she is around 48 years old.