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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Columbia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Maryland Man Found Guilty by Jury of Sexually Abusing 13-Year-Old Girl

Defendant Was Victim’s Former Piano Teacher in Northwest Washington

            WASHINGTON – Mark Chuvala, 41, of Berlin, Md., has been found guilty by a jury of sexually abusing a former teenage piano student, U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu and Peter Newsham, Chief of the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD), announced today.

            Chuvala was found guilty on Jan. 30, 2018 of four counts of first-degree child sexual abuse, three counts of second-degree child sexual abuse, one count of indecent sexual proposal to a minor, one count of misdemeanor sexual abuse of a child, and one count of use of a minor in a sexual performance. The verdict followed a trial in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia. The Honorable Ronna L. Beck scheduled sentencing for April 6, 2018. In addition to any sentence of imprisonment, Chuvala will be required to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

            According to the government’s evidence, Chuvala was the victim’s piano teacher in 2011 at Middle C Music in the Tenleytown neighborhood of Northwest Washington. At the time of the lessons, Chuvala was 34, and the student was 13 years old. When the lessons had concluded, Chuvala asked the girl to stay in touch, and they began a relationship over text communications.

            The two got together a few days later and walked to a park in Montgomery County, Maryland, where Chuvala kissed the girl and engaged in the first sexual contact with her. Chuvala has pled guilty in Montgomery County to three counts of third-degree sex offense for this conduct, and is pending sentencing there on Feb. 15, 2018.

            Shortly after that, Chuvala and the girl met on at least two occasions in the middle of the night in Washington, D.C. During those two incidents, Chuvala performed oral sex on the victim and had her perform oral sex on him, among other sexual conduct. After these sexual encounters, Chuvala and the victim continued to exchange numerous texts with each other at all hours of the day and night. When Chuvala moved from the Washington, D.C. area, he engaged in conversations with the girl over video Skype, in which he would ask her to undress, masturbating as he watched her, and would ask her to masturbate.

            In the spring of 2012, the victim first disclosed the abuse to a friend, and her friend told a school counselor. The counselor notified law enforcement, and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) opened an investigation. However, the victim was not ready to go forward with a police investigation at the time, and persuaded her parents not to provide the abuser’s name to police. Ultimately, in the fall of 2014, the victim decided that she was prepared to go forward with a police investigation. The investigation led to Chuvala’s arrest on June 24, 2015. Following the verdict, the judge ordered that he be placed in custody pending sentencing.

            In announcing the verdict, U.S. Attorney Liu and Chief Newsham praised the work of detectives from the Metropolitan Police Department’s Youth and Family Services Division. They acknowledged the efforts of those who worked on the case from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, including Paralegal Specialists D’Yvonne Key and Brenda Williams, Victim/Witness Advocate Veronica Vaughan, Investigative Analyst William Hamann, and Litigation Technology Specialist Anisha Bhatia. Finally, they commended the work of Assistant U.S. Attorneys Elana Suttenberg and Nicholas Miranda, who investigated and prosecuted this case. 

Topic(s): 
Violent Crime
Press Release Number: 
18-26
Updated January 31, 2018