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Ex-special education teacher sentenced for improper photos

March 02. 2013 12:38AM

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WILKES-BARRE -Former Dallas Middle School teacher David Shuga was in the middle of apologizing in Luzerne County Court for taking inappropriate pictures of female students when he was interrupted by a mother on Friday.

“You broke my child,” the mother cried to him.

“I’m sorry, I’m very sorry,” Shuga, 50, said.

Shuga was sentenced by Luzerne County Judge Michael T. Vough to three years probation on a child corruption charge, a first-degree misdemeanor. He could have been sentenced to up to five years in state prison.

Dallas Township police and Luzerne County detectives said Shuga, as a special-education specialist, used his cellphone to take pictures of “intimate parts” of female students under desks. Another student took a picture of Shuga taking inappropriate pictures that led to the investigation.

Students told investigators they believed Shuga had taken pictures on his cellphone from December 2011 to June 5, 2012.

Shuga resigned from the Dallas School District and surrendered his state teacher license, his attorney Frank Nocito said. “He will never teach again,” Nocito said.

Prior to Vough imposing the probationary sentence that includes the first six months on house arrest with an electronic ankle bracelet, two mothers spoke about the trauma, embarrassment and social damage their daughters have faced.

One mother said she was forced to remove her daughter from the school district because she was being bullied and teased. Her daughter stopped playing with friends, gained weight and withdrew from social and athletic activities such as cheerleading and soccer.

“She was vulnerable, and you took advantage of her,” the mother told Shuga. “I pray every day to God to remove the shame.”

The other mother said Shuga, “was using these pictures for his own sexual preferences,” describing how difficult it was to send her daughter to school and trust other teachers.

“In one act of stupidity, sir, you threw your life away,” Vough told Shuga when imposing the sentence.

Vough said Shuga is not to have any unsupervised contact with children under 18 during his probation.

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