By Rick Sallinger

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4)Brian Vasquez, a former Prairie Middle School teacher, was sentenced to 40 years to life after pleading guilty to charges involving sexual relationships he had with female students.

Vasquez was a teacher at the school for seven years. Now he is going to prison possibly for the rest of his life.

Brian Vasquez in court (credit: CBS)

He admitted using his position and the vulnerability of five girls to exchange photos and have sex in a car with some of them.

Attorney Qusair Mohamedbhai represented several of the girls.

(credit: CBS)

“They were all extremely appreciative of this extremely lengthy sentence and they are thrilled they are not going to have to go through a trial which would have been very difficult on all of them,” he said.

Vasquez blamed pornography and a sex addiction for his actions. Through his lawyer, he said he knew he was going to get caught and would confess at that time. That’s what happened.

(credit: CBS)

It’s one of the longest such plea bargain sentences in the judicial district.

18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler told reporters, “If you try to satisfy your sexual urges at the expense of our children’s innocence the system will take away your liberty maybe forever.”

(credit: CBS)

The Cherry Creek School District recently agreed to an $11.5 million settlement with the victims and their families.

Money that will go partially for their care.

(credit: CBS)

Emily Tofte Nestaval, a lawyer with the Rocky Mountain Victim Law Center, spoke during an impromptu news conference.

“The admittance of the offender for the actions that he took that were wrong lead to a survivor’s healthy outcome in the long run.”

(credit: CBS)

Nestaval represented one of girls.

A long sentence for Brian Vasquez and no doubt a long recovery ahead for his victims.

Two school administrators have been charged with misdemeanors accusing them if failure to report the actions of Vasquez. Their trials are pending.

CBS4’s Rick Sallinger is a Peabody award winning reporter who has been with the station more than two decades doing hard news and investigative reporting. Follow him on Twitter @ricksallinger.

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