Two dozen people wearing white t-shirts gathered Friday afternoon to proclaim their solidarity with convicted child sex abuser and former Cloverly Elementary School teacher John Vigna.
On Friday, Montgomery County Circuit Judge David Boynton sentenced Vigna to 48 years in prison for four counts of sexual abuse of a minor and five counts of third-degree sexual offense. “These kids are having a very hard time,” said State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy. “For anybody who thinks that the kids who are victims in this case are not continuing to suffer trauma from what happened to them, well you’ve go it wrong -- you got it wrong.”
Vigna was arrested last June after two 11-year-old victims told administration that Vigna sexually abused them. According to court documents, Vigna sexually abused one student at Cloverly Elementary School where he was a teacher, by squeezing her buttock and making her sit on his lap. Vigna abused another student by hugging her and squeezing her buttock. One of the victims told his or her parents after school one day about incident where Vigna hugged and squeezed his or her buttock. Police then interviewed both victims and charged Vigna when he turned himself in.
Police said Vigna sexually abused the victims during the 2013- 2014 and 2015-2016 school years.
McCarthy said teachers at Cloverly who taught a “good touch, bad touch class,” saw one of the students have a strong negative reaction to class and approached the student afterward, who after questioning admitted to being sexually abused by Vigna.
“As it turned out the reaction they were watching that day that alarmed them turned out to be a story that led to a situation with her and Vigna,” McCarthy said.
The two 11-year-old students at Cloverly were not the only victims of Vigna. One of Vigna’s victims, now 21 years old, testified at the trial claiming Vigna abused her.
During the sentencing, Vigna received strong support from friends and family who were wearing white t-shirts with the message “Vigna Strong” packing the courtroom. After the sentencing Vigna’s elder sister Pattie Assia said she believed that her brother was “wrongfully convicted.” “I would like to speak… on behalf of John, his family and those who know him and continue to love and support him; I know in their hearts that he is not a groomer or a predator,” Assia said. “He has been wrongfully convicted. We will continue to fight until he is vindicated and justice is served.”