SAN DIEGO — A former teacher at a City Heights charter school who engaged in sex acts with his 15-year-old female student was sentenced Tuesday to two years in state prison.
Robert Ian Famania, 38, pleaded guilty in June to a single felony count of committing a lewd act on a child.
Deputy District Attorney Meghan Buckner said one sex act was committed upon the girl sometime between March and April of this year, but that act was preceded by a “grooming process,” that included inappropriate touching. The prosecutor said the victim was suffering from depression and anxiety and came to Famania for comfort at a vulnerable time in her life, during which he “took advantage” of her.
Following his prison term, Famania will be required to register as a sex offender. The defendant previously taught at Health Sciences High and Middle College, but shortly after his arrest, school officials said he was no longer employed there. He was previously listed as a 9th and 10th grade history teacher on the school’s website.
Buckner read a letter from the victim, identified only as Jane Doe in court, in which she spoke of the shame she felt over what occurred, and how her name has been mentioned around campus, to the point where she has begun the process of changing schools.
“I’ve taken responsibility for my actions, as you should for being an adult,” the letter read.
Famania addressed the court at sentencing, displaying remorse for his actions, and how it affected the girl, her family, and his own family.
“I’ve hurt and I’ve embarrassed so many people in my life,” he said, listing his friends, family, himself, “the school I used to cherish working at,” and “most importantly, I’ve hurt the life of a young learner.”
Famania said, “I know that all choices carry a consequence, but what I didn’t understand until I got here was that selfish choices don’t just affect you, it affects everyone else around you.”
San Diego Superior Court Judge Laura Halgren said she found Famania’s remorse genuine and took that into account, along with his nonexistent prior criminal record.
However, she declined to grant probation in his case due to a variety of factors, including the vulnerability of the victim, the significant age gap between Famania and the girl, and the need to deter others from similar conduct.