Former Long Beach teacher sentenced to 80 years for child sex abuse | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

A former Long Beach teacher was was sentenced to 80 years to life in prison Tuesday following his conviction on six counts of child sex abuse, including offenses against his students.

Mark Anthony Santo, 54, was convicted following a trial in June of two counts of lewd and lascivious acts with a child as well as other counts of forced oral copulation and sexual penetration.

Santo was accused by three girls of sexual abuse stemming from incidents between 2012 and 2018. He was first charged in May 2020 for a 2015 incident in which he was accused of committing a lewd act with a 13-year-old family friend.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney later added charges alleging that Santo also touched a middle school student inappropriately while he was a teacher in Long Beach as well as allegations of forced sexual penetration and forced copulation from a third girl.

Santo taught at Jordan High School and Lindbergh Middle School, and the incident allegedly occurred in the 2012-2013 school year. He resigned from his teaching job in 2018.

“You forced these young women to relive that behavior … the molestations, the intimate details of what you did to them,” said Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Laura Laesecke during the sentencing hearing Tuesday. “You are a predator… You are a danger to the community.’’

Santo’s alleged misconduct dates back to when he was accused of interacting inappropriately with middle school students at Lindbergh Middle School a decade ago, according to the Long Beach Post.

In 2013, the principal of the school told Santo to stop liking girls’ photos on Instagram, according to disciplinary records obtained by the Post.

He came under fire again in 2018 when the principal of the school where he worked told him to be “less demonstrative” after another staff member heard students talking about Santo’s hugs, the Post reported.

While his victims testified before his sentencing on Tuesday, Santo was asked to leave the room, but returned before he was sentenced.

He testified at trial in his defense and denied committing any of the acts.

Citywide News Service contributed to this report.

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