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Ex Performing Arts teacher pleads guilty in student sexting

A former Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter School teacher has pleaded guilty in Hampshire Superior Court to charges of open and gross lewdness, and annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex, in connection with having texted a nude photo of himself last year to a 17-year-old student at the school.

Daniel Lozada, 34, was a dance teacher at the South Hadley public school.

Under the plea agreement arrived at by prosecutors and the defense, Judge Mary-Lou Rup accepted the defendant’s guilty plea to the annoying and accosting charge, and continued the open and gross lewdness charge without a finding of guilt for 10 years, during which time he will be on supervised probation on both charges. During that time, Lozada must abide by all standard conditions typically imposed by the Probation Department, as well as the following special conditions of probation:

∎ He shall actively participate in and shall successfully complete any and all evaluations, programs and therapies recommended by the Department of Probation, including, but not limited to sex offender evaluation and treatment. If the treatment provider recommends that the defendant submit to a polygraph examination for the purpose of treatment, he shall comply with such a request.

∎ He shall have no unsupervised contact, direct or indirect, with any person under the age of 18 in any manner (excluding family members such as his own biological children, nieces, nephews and first cousins), including physical contact, verbal contact or contact by electronic means. Such supervision must be by an adult with an official legal obligation for the child’s welfare who has been apprised of the defendant’s status as a person on probation for charges of open and gross lewdness and annoying and accosting a person of the opposite sex.

∎ He shall not reside with, nor spend overnights in any residence or household with any child under the age of 18 (excluding family members).

∎ He shall not be employed or participate in any volunteer activity where he would have regular and substantial (i.e., non-incidental) interaction with any child under the age of 18 (this prohibition shall not apply to typical customer service/cashier/wait-staff and comparable jobs).

∎ He agrees to submit a DNA sample to the DNA data bank.

∎  He shall stay away from and have no contact with the victim in this case.

∎ He shall not teach, volunteer, or offer instruction of any kind at any organization (public or private) that is attended by any student under the age of 18, nor shall he provide or participate in any private instruction, coaching, teaching or the like with any person under the age of 18.

∎ He shall not communicate with any person under the age of 18 (excluding family members) through any electronic means, including but not limited to the Internet, cell phones, gaming systems, iPods and the like.

∎ He shall remain 100 yards away from any school or educational facility of any type where children under the age of 18 may reasonably be expected to be present, excluding incidental travel by said institutions via public ways.

∎ He shall remain 100 yards away from any child-oriented playground where children under the age of 18 may reasonably be expected to be present, excluding incidental travel by said places via public ways.

∎ He shall not use a phone, computer or any other electronic device for any communication of a sexual nature, including but not limited to the sharing of sexually explicit or suggestive images or messages.

∎ He shall not provide any person under the age of 18 (excluding family members) with a cell phone, gaming device or any other electronic or digital device capable of Internet access.

∎ He shall not obtain or solicit the cell phone number, email address or other means of electronically communicating with, a person under the age of 18 (excluding family members).

∎ He shall not provide his cell phone number, email address or other means of electronically communicating with him, to any person under the age of 18 (excluding family members).

∎ He shall remain drug free, with random drug screens by the Probation Department.

“Today’s outcome holds the defendant accountable for abusing his position as an instructor of underage students, and ensures that he will not be in a position to do so again,” said Assistant District Attorney Linda Pisano, who prosecuted the case with Christine Tetreault.

Should Lozada violate any conditions of probation, the continuation without a finding on the open and gross charge could be converted into a conviction, and he could be sentenced to up to three years in state prison on that charge, and up to two years in the House of Correction on the annoying and accosting charge.

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