GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Forest Hills middle school teacher accused of groping two students will face trial.
John Patrick Moglia, 55, of Lowell, was arraigned earlier this month. Court documents describe the yearbook and art teacher as a “touchy person.”
Wednesday, a judge ruled there’s enough evidence to send four counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct against Moglia to the circuit court.
Two former students alleged Moglia touched them inappropriately last school year during testimony for his preliminary hearing.
News 8 is not naming them because they are minors. Judge Jeffrey O’Hara closed the hearing to the public, which would have streamed on YouTube, for that same reason.
News 8 obtained an audio copy of the hearing for this report.
“He reached over to me from where he was taking attendance and he squeezed it and he said, ‘Oh you’re not ticklish… normally when I do that people jump.’ And then did it again,” one of the teens recounted of the teacher allegedly touching her inner thigh.
The second witness described feeling uncomfortable on three occasions. The third alleged incident happened when Moglia asked her to take photos at a basketball game.
She testified he groped her while placing his camera strap around her neck.
“I got really scared that time and I took a picture and I said, ‘I’m not taking anymore.’ And I went back to my seat and then I went to the locker room and I cried for a little bit,” the teen said on the stand.
Moglia’s attorney, Fil Iorio, said he denies all allegations. Iorio sent the following statement to News 8:
“Today’s proceeding does not change our position — my client denies the allegations 100%. My client’s career, which spans over 25 years, is marked with good character, distinction and respect. We have faith in the process and look forward to having this case brought before a jury of his peers. My client appreciates all the support he is receiving from family, friends, parents and former students.”
The school district confirmed Wednesday afternoon Moglia remains on administrative leave.
News 8 will continue to follow this criminal case.