Dawn Giannini, 50, of Redwood City, was sentenced to nearly 7 years in prison for filming sex with an underage female relative -- and posting it to PornHub

By KC Baker
January 22, 2020 11:53 AM
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Credit: San Mateo County Sheriff's Office

A former California teacher was sentenced to nearly 7 years in state prison for performing sex acts on an underage female family member and posting cellphone video footage of the encounters to a porn site.

Calling the case one of the worst he’s ever seen, on Friday, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Finigan sentenced Dawn Giannini, 50, of Redwood City, to six years and 8 months in prison, the Daily Journal reports.

The married mother of two was initially charged with 24 counts, including incest, sexual penetration with a foreign object and showing porn to a minor, online court records show.

On October 30, Giannini pleaded no contest to 4 of those charges, including meeting a minor for lewd purposes, using a minor for sex acts, oral copulation with a person under 18 years and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime, online court records show.

The other charges were dismissed as part of a negotiated plea bargain, San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe told The Almanac.

But the judge said otherwise, calling her actions “far from normal” and harmful to her family, The Daily Post reports.

On Friday’s sentencing hearing, Giannini apologized, saying she “understood she tore her family apart,” the outlet reports.

Her attorney told the court that she herself had once been the victim of sexual abuse, the Daily Journal reports.

Authorities learned about the sexual abuse in this case in October 2018 when a classmate of the victim recognized her from videos he’d seen of the girl and Giannini on the porn site PornHub, the Daily Post reports.

He told the principal, who called the police.

Giannini was arrested on Oct. 18 and was held in lieu of $1.75 million bail.

The abuse took place from November 2014 to November 2015 when the girl was 16 or 17, the Daily Post reports.

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Giannini is a former 4th-grade teacher at St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Palo Alto, where she began working in 2015, according to her LinkedIn account.

She’d also worked as a substitute teacher and special education assistant in the Redwood City School District.

The victim was a relative of Giannini’s but was never a student of hers. Authorities do not believe she had sexual relationships with any of her students, the Daily Post reports.

After her arrest, Giannini was fired from the Redwood City School District.

Giannini is married to a high-ranking military member and has two teenaged children.

Her attorney did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.