Ex-Ohio teacher convicted in student sex caseLEBANON, Ohio (AP) — A former high school gym teacher was convicted Thursday of having sex with five students, some of them football players, after an Ohio judge rejected an insanity defense that argued the teens took advantage of her.
By: Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
LEBANON, Ohio (AP) — A former high school gym teacher was convicted Thursday of having sex with five students, some of them football players, after an Ohio judge rejected an insanity defense that argued the teens took advantage of her.
Stacy Schuler, 33, was sentenced to a total of four years in prison for the encounters with the Mason High School students at her home in Springboro in southwest Ohio in 2010.
Schuler, who could have faced decades in prison, cried as she was handcuffed and led out of the courtroom.
The five teens testified that Schuler had been drinking alcohol at the time of the encounters and was a willing participant who initiated much of the contact.
"This is a noble profession that you have, and I've heard a lot of good things about you, but I know that you had the opportunity, as all teachers do, to effect the lives of our children," Warren County Common Pleas Judge Robert Peeler said. "You crossed a line."
Schuler's lawyers argued she had medical and psychological issues and couldn't remember the encounters.
Before sentencing Schuler on 16 counts of sexual battery and three counts of providing alcohol to a minor, the judge said it would be a "magnificent leap" to believe she didn't know her actions were wrong.
Testimony from a defense psychologist indicated that Schuler's medical and physical ailments, combined with her vegan diet and use of alcohol and an antidepressant, were a "perfect storm" that impaired her ability to tell right from wrong.
The Middletown Journal reported that Dr. Kenneth Manges discussed the tests he used to evaluate Schuler.
"She had a need to be very correct ... leading to a preference for polite, formal, dutiful and correct personal relationships," he testified. "She is deferential, ingratiating and overly solicitous to superiors. ... That's in total contradiction to the behaviors that she is accused of."
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported another psychologist rebutted that testimony, saying that the use of alcohol does not meet the state standard for an insanity defense and that willingly getting drunk is not a legal defense for a crime.
"She probably felt miserable and probably wasn't functioning at her best level, but at no point did it appear to rise to a severe mental disease or defect," said Nancy Schmidtgoessling of Cincinnati. She wasn't mentally ill at the time these things allegedly happened."
Schuler had been a health and gym teacher and athletic trainer at the school north of Cincinnati since 2000 before resigning in February after an anonymous tip to the school led to the charges against her.
Two former Mason students had testified that Schuler had devised a plan to enter an insanity plea before she was ever charged. Other students testified on Schuler's behalf, hugging her in the courtroom and telling the judge she was a supportive advocate who kept appropriate boundaries.