The Miami private school athletic director charged with the sexual assault of a 12-year-old girl and a 17-year-old avoided jail time after pleading guilty to lesser charges, but lost his teaching certification and will be a registered sex offender for the rest of his life.
Paul Michael Mira, 29, pleaded guilty last week to two counts of child abuse with no great bodily harm and two counts of unlawful sexual activity with a minor, according to a memo released Wednesday by the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office.
Mira, who was the athletic director of Archimedean Middle and Upper Conservatory, had been charged with lewd or lascivious battery and statutory rape for allegedly having sex with the 12-year-old and a 17-year-old.
Authorities said Mira went missing in November as Miami-Dade Police's Special Victim's Bureau began an investigation into the alleged assaults. He was arrested in Polk County in December.
In addition to losing his certification, Mira will be on sex offender probation for 10 years, will have to wear an electronic monitor for at least the first year, must obey a 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew, cannot have unsupervised contact with minors or work in a setting that gives him authority over minors, the memo said.
If Mira violates probation, he could face 40 years behind bars.
"Paul has accepted responsibility and is extremely remorseful for his wrongful conduct. He wants to move on with his life," Mira's attorneys, Walter and Luis Reynoso said in a statement. "We feel we have reached a fair and reasonable resolution to this matter."
According to the memo, prosecutors offered the deal with the approval of the victims and their parents, who wanted to resolve the cases quickly without testifying in depositions or trials.
Several other issues would have prevented prosecutors from being able to prove the allegations against Mira beyond a reasonable doubt, the memo said.
The delayed reporting of the alleged sexual abuse meant there was a limited amount of evidence, including DNA, against Mira, the memo said. And while several text messages apparently sent by Mira to the 12-year-old victim were discovered and "highly suspicious in nature," they didn't admit to the offenses, the memo said.
In addition, prosecutors said the older teen, now 18, had repeatedly asked them not to file charges against Mira, claimed the 12-year-old was lying, and there was a chance she would recant her testimony, the memo said.
"The now-18 year old victim is convinced that the defendant 'loved her,' and in meetings with the police and with me, said she could not possibly believe that this defendant would have “cheated” on her by engaging in sex acts with someone else," the memo said. "She told me that she thought the 12 year old victim made up these allegations just to seek attention, and because she and the 18 year old victim did not get along."
The memo noted that the teen's "judgment is clouded because of the way the defendant manipulated her."
According to the memo, Mira's attorney said Mira passed a polygraph question about having sex with the 12-year-old, and submitted an investigative report in which the girl's classmates challenged her credibility.
As for why Mira fled, prosecutors say Mira would have claimed he ran because he was afraid he wouldn't be treated fairly by the criminal justice system.
"His case was given a great deal of publicity, and the allegations against the defendant became known about the same time as the Jerry Sandusky/Penn State scandal made the news," the memo said. "The defense claimed that when the defendant fled the jurisdiction, it was simply because he panicked at the thought of being 'falsely' accused."