AUGUSTA — A former science teacher at Gardiner Area High School pleaded guilty Monday to a charge of gross sexual assault against a teen who was not one of his students but for whose welfare and care he was responsible.

John M. Glowa Jr., 43, of Readfield, had been charged with two counts of gross sexual assault, with the second charge saying that he plied the 16-year-old girl with alcohol before sexually assaulting her at his home in Mount Vernon on a January 2018 day when schools were canceled because of snow.

That charge was dismissed in exchange for the plea to the alternative charge as well as a charge of furnishing liquor to a minor.

Justice William Stokes sentenced Glowa to six years in prison, with three years to be served initially and the other three years suspended while Glowa spends four years on probation.

Glowa was taken to jail immediately after the hearing on Monday.

Seventeen people watched the hearing from the public benches in the second floor courtroom at the Capital Judicial Center.

Glowa, who has been free on bail, wore a light brown suit jacket and trousers when he entered the courtroom with his parents and brother.

At court on Monday, the victim addressed the judge, telling him that she was “an innocent victim sexually assaulted by John Glowa, someone many people trusted.”

She said she has flashbacks and is fearful when she sees a car that looks like his or a person who looks like him.

She said she has lost her trust in male adults, teachers and father figures. Her voice broke as she spoke. “It’s scary not to know all the ways this will be negatively impacting my life.”

The victim’s mother said all the letters of support for Glowa meant nothing to her daughter.

The prosecutor, Assistant District Attorney Michael Madigan, argued that Glowa should be sentenced to eight years, with the first four years to be served immediately and the remainder suspended while Glowa spends four years on probation.

That was the sentence cap which both attorneys had agreed on.

Glowa’s defense attorney, Pamela Ames, suggested an initial period of nine months to serve in the county jail.

Glowa was arrested at Gardiner Area High School on Jan. 30, a week after the sexual assault occurred. He was “immediately placed on administrative leave” and banned from having contact with students there and from being on the premises, according to a statement released at the time by Superintendent Patricia Hopkins.

The girl identified as the victim attended a school outside the Gardiner area district.

Glowa had been employed by School Administrative District 11 for a decade and his resignation was included in the school board packet there in April.

On Monday, Ames said Glowa voluntarily resigned from his job, will lose his accreditation and will be unable to teach or coach again because of his conviction.

An affidavit by Maine State Police Detective Ryan Brockway, which was filed with the case, says the sexual assault occurred Jan. 23, a day many schools were closed because of snowfall.

Madigan said Glowa went to the local store in the middle of the day and bought pizza and alcohol — which he shared with the girl before sexually assaulting her.

Madigan said the girl became sick apparently from the alcohol after the sexual assault and told her boyfriend that night about the assault. He reported it to his father, a former police officer who contacted an off-duty Maine State Police trooper. The Department of Health and Human Services also was contacted about the case, and Brockway said it was decided that the boyfriend’s father could bring the girl to his home for the night “because she didn’t feel safe at her residence.

Glowa read aloud his written statement, saying, “I accept full responsibility. I created this mess. I have only myself to blame.”

He spoke haltingly sometimes, stopped occasionally and sniffing aloud.

Glowa apologized repeatedly to the girl, telling her, “I’m sorry you had to be here. You more than anyone else didn’t deserve this. I claim full responsibility.”

He added, “I deeply hope that someday you’ll be able to accept my apology.”

Glowa also repeatedly apologized to her mother.

He told the judge, “I come before you as a broken and very humble man. I had it all.” He talked about his family and what had been planned for the future.

He said he has lost everything: self-respect, respect of others, his career, his log home he had built, his property, his possessions, and everyone but the four people who accompanied him to court, and his three children.

Ames said the alcohol helps explain, but not defend, what Glowa did that day.

Ames also said, “The shame and remorse and derision that he has gotten because he was a teacher is tremendous.”

In delivering the sentence, Stokes said, “It’s almost beyond my ability to comprehend what Mr. Glowa was willing to risk on that January day.”

The judge also said, “I’m skeptical of the explanation that he went (to the store) in the middle of day to buy alcohol for himself alone.”

Stokes also said, “No one would have seen it coming.”

He said that Glowa, who had no criminal history, was respected in the community and in his teaching job.

“What you’ve done, Mr. Glowa is taint that reputation for everyone else in that profession,” Stokes said.

Stokes imposed a condition of probation banning Glowa from contact with girls under 16 except for his biological children.

Glowa was also required to register as a lifetime sex offender under the state’s Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams

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