A St. Lucie County judge sentenced a former high school English teacher to life in prison Monday for his inappropriate behavior around some of his students.
Dan Hussan,71, was convicted during a trial over the summer.
Eight former students testified that Hussan made sexual comments to them and inappropriately touched them while at the Marine Oceanographic Academy.
Before sentencing Hussan proclaimed his innocence. He said the case against him started after he disciplined a student who, other students told him, would get her revenge.
His family members pleaded for leniency, testifying to Hussan’s qualities as a beloved teacher, father, and husband.
“He respected his students and treated them fairly and they respected him,” his wife Lynda said.
“Society would not benefit from sending Dan Hussan to prison. Imprisonment would be tragic,” she said.
But, during the sentencing, the mother of one victim expressed her fury over the damage she claims Hussan caused her daughter. “The only thing this man taught the girls was not to trust people. Your family was ruined? I hate you Mr. Hussan for ruining my daughter.”
After hearing from both sides, Judge James McCann handed down a life sentence. “His conduct here to me was convincingly predatory.”
“We had girls who recently had him as a teacher. We had girls who had him years before who all told the same story of how he was acting with the touching, the comments,” said prosecutor Anastasia Norman.
“I think it’s a shame that all the good he has done has now been erased by this one time frame, this one set of allegations. It’s obviously not the legacy he hoped to leave,” defense attorney Karen Tufte said.
The defense plans to file an appeal by the end of the week.