On July 7, Circuit Court Judge David Lease vacated John Vigna's convictions for sexually abusing students. Credit: Courtney Cohn

After appealing his case multiple times, former Montgomery County Public Schools teacher John Vigna, 56, had his convictions of sexually abusing minors vacated, which removes it from his record, on July 7. A judge ruled on July 12 that Vigna would be released prior to his new trial, the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office said.

In 2017, the Silver Spring man was sentenced to 48 years in jail for assaulting four female students over a 15-year period. Vigna allegedly had students sit on his lap while the class watched videos or did independent work and then touched them inappropriately, according to previous MoCo360 reporting.

He worked for MCPS from 1992 to 2016 and taught third through fifth grade at Cloverly Elementary School, according to court documents.

Vigna filed for post-conviction relief on March 22, 2022, claiming ineffective assistance of counsel, meaning that his attorney made mistakes that impacted the outcome of the trial, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.

He had a series of hearings from November to March, and on July 7, Circuit Court Judge David Lease ruled that Vigna’s attorney was ineffective and granted Vigna a new trial, the State’s Attorney’s Office said.

Thomas Morrow, one of Vigna’s former attorneys on the case, said on Wednesday that he gives his well wishes to Vigna after receiving a new trial.


“I am happy for him and wish him the best of luck,” Morrow told MoCo360.

On July 12, Vigna had a bond review pending his retrial and Judge Lease decided to release him on a $100,000 personal bond, the State’s Attorney’s Office stated.

The State’s Attorney’s Office added that he will not be on house arrest, but there is a list of conditions he must meet pending trial:

  • Stay away from places where minors congregate
  • Live at his verified address, which is the home he shares with his wife
  • Check in with the Pre-Trial Services Unit in-person regularly
  • No unsupervised contact with minors
  • No contact with all State’s witnesses, including the victims and their families.
  • Surrender his passport
  • Stay away from Cloverly Elementary School
  • Wear an ankle monitor to enforce stay-away restrictions

Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy said he does not support this decision.

“The conviction was upheld during the appeals process and the State argued against this latest challenge. The defendant was released over our objection. We are disappointed by the ruling of the court but respect the judge’s decision,” McCarthy said.

Vigna appealed his case to the Court of Appeals multiple times since 2017. He argued that the judge at his trial did not allow his history of “appropriate behavior” with students to be shared, which the Court of Appeals did not accept as sufficient reasoning for a new trial, according to MoCo360 reporting.


In the original opinion after Vigna’s trial, the Circuit Court said, “that sexual predators often gain special access to children for the very reason that they are able to appear ‘appropriate’ (and trustworthy, moral, etc.) in their interactions with children.”

He appealed to the Supreme Court in 2021, and they declined to hear his case, according to MoCo360 reporting.

Vigna has a hearing Aug. 1 to determine trial dates.


Vigna’s current attorneys, Isabelle Raquin and Stephen Mercer, could not be reached for comment over the phone Wednesday.