Montgomery Co. elementary teacher charged with sex abuse of students

ROCKVILLE, Md. — A Montgomery County third-grade teacher at Cloverly Elementary School in Silver Spring is charged with sexually abusing two 11-year-old girls, and police say they believe there may be more victims.

John Vigna, 49, of Silver Spring turned himself in Monday morning. He is charged with one count of sexual abuse of a minor and four counts of third-degree sexual offense for “Victim 1,” and one count of sexual abuse of a minor and one count of third-degree sexual offense for “Victim 2.”

Vigna posted $150,000 bond and was released Monday. A preliminary hearing in the case is scheduled for July 22, according to court records.

He had been on administrative leave since February, when police began their investigation.

Charging documents obtained by WTOP allege Vigna began inappropriately touching and rubbing Victim 1, beginning in August 2014.

“One little girl, on four or five occasions, sat on the lap of a trusted teacher,” said Lucille Baur, spokesperson for Montgomery County police. “He held her close, manipulated her in such a way that was uncomfortable for her, and resisted when she attempted to get off his lap.”

According to police, in February of this year, 11-year-old Victim 2 saw Vigna allegedly rubbing the buttocks of Victim 1, and told her parents that Vigna had inappropriately touched her in the same way. Police were called.

Dr. Melissa Brunson, principal at Cloverly sent a note to school parents, Monday, alerting them of Vigna’s arrest.

“I know that you agree that the behavior alleged in the charging document is both disturbing and disappointing,” Brunson wrote. “It is important for you to know that as soon as we were made aware of the allegations against Mr. Vigna, he was immediately placed on administrative leave and remains on administrative leave today.”

Police say they believe there may be more victims.

“Unfortunately, this type of abuse is typically not a one-or-two time occurrence,” said Baur. “We are asking that parents whose children had Mr. Vigna as a teacher talk to them about the kinds of interactions that they had with their teacher.”

If parents believe their child has been victimized, they are asked to call the police Special Victims Investigations Division, at (240) 773-5400.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report. 

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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