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CENTENNIAL, Colo. – A former Littleton school teacher (and principal,) who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting one of his students in the mid to late 90s, has been sentenced to four years in prison.
Michael Camelio, 70, addressed the court during his sentencing hearing on Friday, and apologized for his conduct.
“I was raised to be a good moral person,” he said. “It’s haunted me for 20 years.”
The victim, who was a young teen when she was first assaulted, read a letter explaining the life-long impact.
“When I was 13-years old, my middle school teacher saw a distressed child and decided to take advantage of her,” she said. “He ‘groomed’ me.”
She said she felt “special” at first, because she was involved with an older man.
“It took me until I was a young adult to realize I was being abused,” she said.
The victim added that she struggled, for years, to come to terms with what happened and began wondering if her former teacher was taking advantage of other children.
That’s when she decided to come forward.
“He is a predator,” she said, “and I couldn’t live anymore with the fact that he was free to perpetrate.”
Camelio was charged with five counts of Sexual Assault on a Child by a Person in a Position of Trust.
He pleaded Guilty to one count.
The longtime educator served as the director of education and principal at Mark Hopkins Elementary from 1982 to 1988, then taught computer science at Newton Middle School from 1988 to 1995.
He then moved to Powell Middle School, where he taught until 2002.
That year, he left the district for a job at Regis University. A 2013-14 faculty booklet shows Camelio was employed as an assistant professor at the university’s School of Education, though his LinkedIn page says he left the university in 2012.
Camelio’s LinkedIn page says he was a consultant and owner at Littleton-based Creatively Affordable Marketing from 2012 to the present day.
Arapahoe County District Court Judge Jeffrey Holmes said it was clear from a number of letters, and the pre-sentence report, that “there has been much good in (Camelio’s) life.”
But Holmes said there was one episode “that caused much suffering in (the victim’s) life.”
He sentenced Camelio to four years behind bars, three years of mandatory parole, and told the former teacher/principal that he must register as a sex offender.
“I think this case exemplifies the kind of good that can be done when a victim shows the guts that this victim did,” said 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler.
The DA said it can be very difficult for a child to come forward, when victimized by a person they trust.
He said he wants others who have been in a similar situation to know that the system will take those claims seriously.
“We will, to the extent that we can, hold someone accountable,” he said.
When asked how prosecutors were able to exact a guilty plea from Camelio, when the case was more than 20 years old, Brauchler said, “It comes from the statements that the victim was able to obtain, with the help of law enforcement.”
He said the statements were captured on audio tape.
Brauchler said the court had to use the sentencing guidelines that were in effect when the assault occurred.
“There were some allegations of conduct that took place when the victim was under the age of 15 that we could not prosecute, because way back then, the statute of limitations was much shorter.”
He added that the sentence Camelio was subject to, in this case, was only two to potentially eight years in the Department of Corrections.
“We’ve since changed the law,” he said. “Were this to happen today, this person would be looking at an indeterminate sentence, so we’ve made some great strides in the way we go about protecting our children.”