A former Ohio high school teacher was convicted Thursday of having sex with five students, some of them football players, after an insanity defense that argued the students took advantage of her.
Stacy Schuler, 33, could face decades in prison on the charges of sexual battery.
She was accused of having sex with five Mason High School students, some football players, at her Springboro home in 2010. She had been a teacher and athletic trainer at the school since 2000. An anonymous tip this year triggered an investigation by administrators.
She had pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity. Her lawyers argued she had medical and psychological issues and doesn’t remember the alleged incidents and that students took advantage of her. She could go to prison for decades, if convicted.
Five teens have testified to having sexual encounters with Schuler, saying she had been drinking alcohol at the time and was a willing participant who initiated much of the contact.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reported a psychologist testified Thursday that Schuler’s 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.
“I think she had mental issues, but not a severe mental disease or defect,” said Nancy Schmidtgoessling of Cincinnati.
“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. She wasn’t mentally ill at the time these things allegedly happened.”
Earlier 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.”
From a forensic standpoint, he said, something else had to be affecting her behavior.
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.