Joseph Massey

Courtesy Pima County Attorney's Office

A former Tucson charter school teacher was convicted of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and assault, the Pima County Attorney's Office announced Friday.

Joseph Massey, 44, faces up to more than eight years in prison when sentenced by Superior Court Judge Teresa Godoy on Jan. 16, 2018, said Deputy County Attorney Victoria Otto, a prosecutor in the case.

Godoy also has the option of putting Massey on probation for five years up to life, said Otto.

A jury convicted Massey of one count of luring a minor for sexual exploitation and three counts of assault for the purpose of sexual gratification.

Between Nov. 1 and Dec. 2, 2015, Massey was a teacher at Southern Arizona Community Academy, 2470 N. Tucson Boulevard, when he targeted three girls. Two were ages 15 and the third was 18.

According to prosecutors, Massey would go over to the students' desks, pretend to help them with their classwork, and inappropriately touch them on the thigh and buttocks over their clothes.

Massey also offered to exchange sexual favors with one of the victims who was 15. Another student confirmed seeing Massey with his hand under the thigh or buttocks of one of the named victims, according to prosecutors.

In May 2009, Massey was arrested on two counts of sexual conduct with a minor while he was an eighth-grade teacher at Utterback Magnet Middle School, 3233 S. Pinal Vista.

Massey was accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a 15-year-old student. A member of the girl's family contacted the Tucson Police Department after discovering suspicious chat messages on the student's Facebook account.

Massey went to trial in 2010 on the charges and he was acquitted by a jury, Otto said.  

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@tucson.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar