Former performing arts charter school teacher Daniel Lozada held on $10,000 cash bail amid new charges
NORTHAMPTON — Over the objection of his defense attorney, Daniel Lozada was led out of Hampshire Superior Court in handcuffs Monday after being held on $10,000 cash bail amid new charges.
Lozada, 33, of 13 Northampton St., Apt. H, Easthampton, pleaded not guilty before Judge Mary-Lou Rup to one count of disseminating obscene material to a minor and two counts of distributing a class D drug (marijuana).
Lozada pleaded not guilty in November in Northampton District Court to the dissemination charge and was released on $250 bail and the condition that he have no contact with anyone under 18.
Lozada is accused of sending a nude photo of himself and suggestive text messages to a 17-year-old female Pioneer Valley Performing Arts Charter Public School student in October 2012 while he was a part-time dance teacher.
Assistant Northwestern District Attorney Linda Pisano said in court Monday that a second PVPA student told investigators that Lozada contacted her and provided her marijuana several times in November 2012, including the day of his arraignment.
Lozada’s attorney, David Mintz of Northampton said his client denies doing drugs. After learning of the new allegations, Mintz said, Lozada submitted to a drug test Jan. 10. It came back negative for marijuana use, Mintz said.
Outside of the courtroom, Mintz said the $10,000 bail was a burden his client wouldn’t be likely to overcome.
“I’m assigned as a public defender, what do you think that means?” Mintz said. “It means he’s going nowhere. You might as well lock him up with no bail.”
PVPA placed Lozada on administrative leave when the allegations surfaced, and he was eventually fired, according to the school. He had been on the job for about two months.
PVPA head of school Scott Goldman on Monday praised the student who brought the photo allegation.
Lozada lost other jobs teaching dance in the area after the allegations were made public, Mintz said.
Pisano said the new charges warranted the increase in bail, and asked Rup to consider $25,000.
Mintz asked that bail remain the same, noting that Lozada has no prior criminal record and has attended all of his required appointments.
In an interview after the arraignment, Mintz said the new charges were based on “somebody’s say-so” that were “coming up out of thin air.”
Rup set the new bail amount without prejudice, which means Lozada can ask for a reduction at any point. He is due back in court May 14 for a pre-trial hearing.
Bob Dunn can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.