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Teacher who sexually assaulted pupils begs judge for castration, gets 12 years jail term

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A former Pensacola teacher who pleaded guilty last year to an array of sex offenses involving students begged the judge on Wednesday to consider castration rather than sentence him to prison.

Mark Lua, 32, made the unusual request to Circuit Court Judge Thomas Dannheisser at his sentencing hearing Wednesday morning.

“My actions were despicable to say the least,” Lua said.

“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 honour is so inclined, I am even willing to undergo physical castration if that way I can stay home and raise my daughter.”

Dannheisser did not respond to Lua’s request and instead sentenced him to 12 years in state prison, followed by 15 years of probation.

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Lua, a former English teacher at Booker T. Washington High School, accepted a plea bargain in October 2019, pleading guilty to charges of promoting a sexual performance by a child, unlawful sexual activity with minors and two counts of unlawful sexual activity with minors.

“He seemed to seek out girls that came from unstable or troubled homes,” Assistant State Attorney Erin Ambrose said in court Wednesday.

“He manipulated them, and he betrayed them because he was a teacher.”

Lua was arrested three separate times last year after allegations arose that he coerced a student into sending him an inappropriate video, that he had sex with an underage student and that he had sexually assaulted an 18-year-old former student.

The allegations against him resulted in five criminal cases based on the claims of four victims.

“Part of the plea bargain was that he would plead down to the most serious charge related to each victim,” Ambrose told the News Journal.

“Two of the five cases are being dismissed based on evidentiary issues and (one of the victim’s) specific request that the cases not go forward.”

Lua’s first arrest was Jan. 17, 2019, after a school resource officer received a tip that Lua was having inappropriate communications with minors. Lua later admitted to using a fictitious Instagram account to solicit juveniles for sex.

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He was arrested for a second time on Jan. 30, 2019, after a juvenile student told authorities that he had sex with her at his home. His third arrest was Feb. 6, 2019, after an adult former student of Lua’s accused him of sexually assaulting her.

At Wednesday’s sentencing hearing, Lua told the court he suffered from a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis that has caused numerous painful, tumorous growths on his skin since the age of 14. Lua said he was suffering from frequent panic attacks around the time of his crimes because of fears and concerns about the disease.

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“If I’m with my family or when I might sit down and read a book, I think about the tumors, and I think ‘Oh my God, this might be my last day on earth,” he said.

However, Ambrose dismissed that idea in court.

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

Crime

Court sentences man to five years imprisonment for possession of hard drugs

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Delivering judgment, Justice Dorcas Agishi, described the illegal possession and trafficking of hard drugs as “detrimental’ and “dangerous” to the youths of the country.

The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) arrested the convict in 2017 for trafficking in hard drugs including Tramadol, Dizapham, Exol-5 among others.

Okeke-Okoye was found guilty on two counts and sentenced to five (5) and two (2) years on each count, which are to run concurrently.

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“With the evidence available before this honorable Court, the accused is not a first offender who supply the dangerous substances.

“He has contributed to the destruction of the society through criminal tendencies especially selling illicit drugs against the law of Nigeria,” she said.

The judge explained that the testimonies of PW1 and PW3 are lucidly proven that the accused the offense without any doubt after she carefully studied all of them.

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She said: “the evidence in chief has already indicated the Okeke-Okoye, in which it clearly shows that his shop was raided by NDLEA head of operation sometimes in July 2017 and tremors, tramadol Dizapham, Exol-5 among others were uncovered.”

Earlier, NDLEA Counsel, Mr. S. Abdullahi, had told the court that offenses Committed by the accused contravened the provisions of Sections 11 (c) of the NDLEA Act.

Abdullahi asserted that the defendant was not a first offend, stating that he was convicted and sentenced twice for similar offenses.

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But the defense counsel, Mr. Nasir Idoko, pleaded with the court to tamper justice with mercy as the accused is the breadwinner of the family and more so that he has pledged not to repeat or continue in the illicit drugs business again.

Idoko also claimed that the defendant was a first offender and should be treated with leniency.

Also speaking, Okeke-Okoye’s sick wife, who was present in court with their five children during the proceedings, pleaded for mercy.

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Crime

German police officers jailed for using office for sexual abuse

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Two German police officers each received prison terms of two years and three months on Monday for abusing their office to sexually abuse a Polish-born woman whose documentation they were investigating.

The prosecution had earlier dropped a charge of aggravated rape by the two men, aged 23 and 28.

The court found that the officers had traveled with the woman to her home in Marlishausen in the state of Thuringia in September 2019 to check her documents after doubting the authenticity of documentation she had presented.

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It acknowledged the possibility that the woman had initiated sexual intercourse but found that she had done this out of fear of the consequences should she not do so.

Where the prosecution had called for a suspended sentence, the court found that the crime had been deeply shocking and damaging to the integrity of the police and imposed a prison term.

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Court remands teenager over alleged murder

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  An Ado-Ekiti Chief Magistrates’ Court on Monday ordered the remand of a 17-year-old, Ojo Peter, at the Correctional Centre in Ado-Ekiti over alleged conspiracy and murder.

The defendant, whose address was not provided, is being tried for alleged murder.

The police prosecutor, Insp. Caleb Leramo told the Court that the defendant committed the offence on June 16, in Ado-Ekiti.

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He alleged that the defendant conspired with others to murder Obadare Falade, a 38-year-old man.

Leramo told the court that the defendant conspired with some mob in his neighbourhood and partook to beat up the deceased which eventually led to his death.

He noted that the offences contravened Sections 324 and 319(1) of the Criminal Code, Laws of Ekiti State, 2012.

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The prosecutor urged the Court to remand the defendant in the Correctional Centre pending legal advice from the office of Director of Public Prosecution (DPP).

The plea of the defendant was not taken.

The Chief Magistrate, Mr Abdulhamid Lawal, ordered the remand of the defendant at the Correctional Centre, pending issuance of legal advice.

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He adjourned the case until July 30 for mention.

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