A former Severna Park High School and Anne Arundel Community Collegeteacher who prosecutors say offered to raise a student's grade in exchange for the name of a large-quantity supplier of marijuana was sentenced Friday to six months house arrest.
Anthony Edward Mongello,39, had pleaded guilty in April to buying 1 1/2 pounds of marijuana from an undercover police detective last October. Before Mongello wassentenced Friday in county Circuit Court, his lawyer said the formerEnglish teacher's experience disproved the claim that marijuana is not an addictive drug.
"It's a habit that brought this man down," said attorney Alan J. Goldstein. "He recognized he has abused (the trust placed with teachers), and he has cost himself a career that he not only loved but was very good at."
Goldstein said Mongello has no prior criminal record and remains drug- and alcohol-free. Mongello, who is now a real estate agent in Rehoboth Beach, Del., told the court, "I'm sorry for anyharm I've done to anyone and myself."
Judge Raymond G. Thieme Jr.suspended a one-year jail sentence in favor of house arrest. The judge also fined Mongello $1,000, ordered him to continue drug counseling and submit to random urine analyses, placed him on five years' probation upon release from house arrest and ordered him to pay court costs of $115.
Mongello was living in the first block of Silverwood Circle in Annapolis when he was arrested last October. A 21-year-old AACC student, who was earning an incomplete in Mongello's freshman English class, had asked the teacher how he could improve the grade. Mongello replied the student would earn a B if he found the teacher a high-level marijuana source, prosecutors have said.
The student toldCrofton police of the offer, and county police responded by sending an undercover detective posing as a dealer to meet Mongello in the parking lot of an Arnold business. Mongello, who bought 1 1/2 pounds ofmarijuana for $1,500, was arrested by officers as he left the parking lot, prosecutors said.
Having pleaded guilty April 8 to possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, Mongello had faced a maximum punishment of five years in prison and a $15,000 fine at Friday's sentencing hearing.
Prosecutors said they knew of no evidence that Mongello sold drugs to students.
Mongello taught 10th-, 11th-and 12th-grade creative writing and yearbook courses at Severna Park, where he spent all but one of his 16 years as a teacher.
Debbie Shaughney, public relations coordinator for the community college, said Mongello was placed on administrative leave after his arrest. She said that his contract to teach at AACC expired at the end of last fall's semester and that he no longer teaches at the school.
Mongello is the second county public school teacher to be sentenced on a drug charge in the past four months. Thomas Russell Rubins, a former Magothy Middle School teacher, was sentenced to six months of house arrest in February for conspiring with convicted drug trafficker James Todd Hibler to sell marijuana.
Rubins, 46, whose 25-year teaching career ended after his arrest last May, had pleaded guilty to a conspiracy charge in December.