Maricopa County Attorney Rachel Mitchell recently announced that a jury has found Manuel Gavina, 53, guilty of sexually abusing 7 girls all under the age of 15.
Gavina was arrested in late 2019 and booked on three counts of sexual abuse at the time. Court documents
said the crimes occurred during math classes at Capitol Elementary School in Central Phoenix when Gavina would touch the children’s breasts during math class. The accusations date back to 2017 when the girls first reported their abuse to the school. Some of the girls were as young as 12 years old, according to court documents.
“This man is the definition of a sexual predator,” said County Attorney Mitchell. “Teachers are trusted adults in our community. Any child in any classroom in this county should feel safe at school, yet this man violated that childhood peace. I will not stand for these types of attacks on our kids. I’m proud of my team of prosecutors who proved his guilt and have taken the first step toward ensuring he is removed from our community before he does any more of this kind of horrific damage.”
Phoenix Police were first notified of the accusations against Gavina in December 2019, when more victims came forward. Each count of sexual abuse is a dangerous crime against children, a Class III felony. The defendant could face anywhere from 17.5 to 70 years in prison.
Sentencing for Manuel Gavina is set for November 30, 2023.