I-TEAM: Driving school instructor accused of molesting teenage student reaches plea deal

Cody Satornino gets jail sentence for guilty plea on one of three charges

Mugshot of Cody Satornino

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – An instructor at a Jacksonville driving school accused of molesting a 16-year-old student pleaded guilty last week to one of the three charges he faced and will be designated as a sexual offender.

Cody Satornino, 31, co-owner of My E-Z Pass Driving and Traffic School, pleaded guilty to attempted unlawful activity with certain minors, a third-degree felony. As part of the agreement that was finalized in court on January 19, prosecutors dropped charges of soliciting a child via computer and sexual battery.

Satornino was sentenced to six months in jail, with credit for 151 days already served. Upon his release, he will have to serve 24 months of sex offender probation. The charge could have carried a sentence of up to five years in prison.

The News4JAX I-TEAM uncovered Satornino’s arrest in August, during our investigation of customer complaints about the driving school taking money and not providing services. A police report released several weeks later detailed the charges, which involved a 16-year-old driving school student who accused Satornino of flirting with her, groping and aggressively kissing her. The report also documented text messages and social media messages Satornino sent to the victim that caused her mental distress. Police said the crimes happened over a four-month span, with the assault happening during a driving lesson.

Satornino’s probation includes numerous conditions related to his sexual offender designation, including a prohibition on any contact with a child under 18 without prior court approval. He also has to maintain a driving log and can’t operate a motor vehicle alone without prior approval from his probation officer. Satornino also can’t distribute candy or other items to children on Halloween, or wear a Santa or Easter bunny costume before the holidays, or wear a clown costume.

According to the court document, the victim in the case was notified of the plea deal and is in agreement.

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Lifetime Jacksonville resident anchors the 8 and 9 a.m. weekday newscasts and is part of the News4Jax I-Team.