Mark Lua, a former teacher in Pensacola, Florida, had a bizarre request for a judge during his sentencing hearing. The 32-year-old was facing prison for a plethora of sex crimes involving students when he pleaded for an alternate punishment over jail time.
Lua requested that he be chemically or physically castrated rather than getting locked up behind bars, according to the Pensacola News Journal.
“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 honor is so inclined, I am even willing to undergo physical castration if that way I can stay home and raise my daughter.”
Ultimately, Lua was sentenced to 12 years in state prison, with 15 years of probation.
The former English teacher at Booker T. Washington High School pleaded 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.
Over the course of the past year alone, a handful of teachers have been arrested on similar charges, including 25-year-old substitute teacher Alexis Mercedes Boberg in Baltimore, Beulah High School teacher Kelsie Schmidt in North Dakota, Rancocas Valley Regional High School teacher Alexandra Reiner in New Jersey, and 50-year-old Florida substitute teacher Angela Jean Stanton in Florida. Additionally, Texas teachers Meredith Null and Edna Longoria were arrested on similar charges.
As for why the number of these incidents has seemingly increased, studies suggest that smartphones are the primary reason for the spike in illicit relationships, as it allows teachers to communicate with the minors without supervision.
According to a report from the Texas Education Association, smartphones make easy for teachers to privately text and talk with students and also make it possible for teachers and students to share explicit images.