Ex-teacher who allegedly filmed students takes plea

The former Mills High School teacher charged with videotaping students in a school bathroom and in his classroom pleaded no contest to four charges Thursday and faces a maximum of two years in state prison.

David Lista, 35, of Belmont, was charged with six counts, including five related to child pornography after he was arrested in March. Prosecutors said he installed a pinhole camera above a stall in the girls’ restroom next to his classroom in the Millbrae high school and also videotaped girls using a camera hidden on his desk.

Lista’s attorney, Elizabeth Grossman, and Deputy District Attorney Aaron Fitzgerald agreed to the deal Thursday in which Lista pleaded to two misdemeanors, felony possession of child pornography and felony possession of methemphetamine, which was found in his home.

The misdemeanors pleas were both for illegally videotaping a child in a private circumstance, one count each for the bathroom and desk cameras, respectively.

A separate drug possession charge stemming from an arrest after he posted bail was dropped.

Lista’s arrest rocked the school. Students told of how the bathroom Lista filmed was the most commonly used in the school and how he served as an adviser to the freshmen cheerleading squad.

Lista will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. He faces restitution of up to $20,000 and a maximum $10,000 fine for each of his two felonies. He also faces up to four years of parole. Judge Stephen Hall will sentence Lista on Oct. 30.

Chief Deputy District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said Lista deserved to be in state prison for his acts done for his own “personal, perverted interests.”

Grossman did not return calls seeking comment.

Millbrae police found dozens of explicit images of underage girls on Lista’s school and home computers in March.

mrosenberg@sfexaminer.com

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