Female gym teacher accused of sex acts with football players
GARY STELZER/MIDDLETOWN JOURNAL Stacy Schuler, athletic trainer and physical education and health teacher at Mason High School, is led away from her arraignment by Warren County Sheriff deputy Hank Arnett after she turned herself in Friday, Feb 4, 2011 in Lebanon, Ohio.
Former Mason High School teacher Stacy Schuler. By Ed Richter, Staff Writer Updated 8:30 PM Friday, February 4, 2011
MASON — A female Mason high school gym teacher is accused of having sexual misconduct with five students, most of them football players at the school.
A Warren County grand jury on Friday indicted Stacy Schuler of Springboro on 16 counts of sexual battery, a third-degree felony; and three misdemeanor counts of offenses involving underage persons.
Schuler, who will turn 33 next week, allegedly had sexual contact with the students on five different occasions between August and December, according to officials with the Warren County Prosecutor’s Office. She also allegedly bought alcohol for the students, according to the indictment.
Prosecutors said the alleged sex acts, mostly with football players at Mason High School, occurred off school grounds.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Bruce McGary said the allegations did not happen at a party. Mason police Detective Toni Hoelke said when the parents of the students found out about the allegations, they “were surprised and that they had no idea about it.”
Schuler, who is single according to prosecutors, turned herself into authorities Friday and was arraigned in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
Her bond was set at $50,000 and was ordered to stay away from the victims as well as any other students. On Friday night, she had not posted bond.
Attorney Charlie Rittgers of Lebanon is representing Schuler.
“We knew she was being investigated,” Rittgers said. “There has been no discovery from prosecutors and we’ll be starting our own investigation.”
Rittgers said Schuler has been ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device.
“If her parents can’t raise the money for bond or if she can’t get a GPS device put on, she’ll have to stay in jail,” Rittgers said. “There’s a good probability she’ll be there for the weekend.”
Schuler faces up to 81 years in jail if convicted on all charges.
The case has already gained national attention.
“Anytime a teacher is accused of having sex with students, it gets peoples attention,” Rittgers said. “It doesn’t surprise me with those allegations.”
Authorities also said George Coates, a Mason High School assistant principal who resigned last week, had allegedly sent Schuler text messages involving sexual images.
Schuler apparently told school authorities about the alleged messages before she was asked to leave.
Police said Coates is not under investigation and his alleged acts did not involve Mason students.
Coates submitted a letter of resignation Jan. 28, citing personal reasons. Mason’s school board is expected to vote on the matter at next Tuesday’s meeting.
He was hired as an assistant principal in December 2001 and his annual salary at the time of his resignation was $88,000.
Schuler, a health and physical education teacher at the 3,048 student-populated Mason High School, has been under investigation by police after an anonymous tip was given to school officials during the week of Jan. 10, according to Tracey Carson, schools spokeswoman.
Carson said Schuler was placed on paid administrative leave on Jan. 18. During that time, Schuler was prohibited from attending district events or being on district property.
“As high school principal, I am committed to the safety and well-being of our students, and will not tolerate behavior that does not conform to that goal. Our staff is prepared to help our students during this situation, and know how it important it is to continue to build trust with our students and families,” said Principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart.
Superintendent Kevin Bright said he was “appalled by the recent allegations” involving Schuler.
“Our job at the end of the day, is to partner with our families and to empower our staff to report anything that seems out of line, and then to act swiftly when someone behaves inappropriately,” Bright said.
Bright said in this case, the district “acted swiftly, partnered with police immediately, and we are standing her today because of how seriously our high school principal took an anonymous tip.”
Bright said he has reported the allegations to the Ohio Department of Education, and the superintendent will recommend to the Mason Board of Education that Schuler be suspended without pay as the district begins termination proceedings. The school board is expected to act upon those recommendations at its next meeting on Tuesday.
Her duties included work as an athletic trainer for the high school’s girls and boys sports teams. She earned $53,194 in 2008, according to her personnel file.
Schuler had received a disciplinary action in November 2007 after two students were in the teacher’s classroom when they were not supposed to be there and were missing other classes, according to her personnel file.
At the time of the action, the teacher said the two students needed to work out some personal problems and remained in the teacher’s classroom, according to her file.
Schuler graduated from Centerville High School in 1996 and Wright State University in 2000. She was a student teacher at Fairmont High School in Kettering from 1999-2000, according to her file.
In her Health Education Philosophy as part of her application to work at Mason, Schuler wrote that she wanted to teach students about major risk factors for teenagers including “sexual behaviors that result in disease, STDs, and unwanted pregnancies.”
In the same statement Schuler said, “Today’s society has its own standards of behavior, values, and norms that do not necessarily reflect healthy living,” and later asked “How can a child who is sexually active as a teenager learn about STDs and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies?”
Female gym teacher accused of sex acts with football players