Stacy Schuler, 34-year-old former Mason High School teacher from Lebanon, Ohio, who in October 2011 was sentenced to four years in prison, has been released from prison early.
Schuler had been at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville nearly 13 months, so she served only a quarter of her four-year sentence following her conviction on Oct. 27, 2011, for having sex with five students and providing them with alcohol. Female teacher was found guilty of 16 felony counts of sexual battery and three misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors.
Schuler was arrested in February 2011 after she surrendered to police after being indicted on 19 counts of sexual battery involving male students. She was initially charged with four counts of sexually battery with one of the male students on Aug. 20, three counts of sexual battery with another student on Aug. 27, four counts with another student on Sept. 10, four counts with another student between Sept. 17 and Oct. 15 and another four counts with the fifth and final teenage boy between Dec. 1 and Dec. 23.
In July same year Schuler pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity to 16 counts of child sexual battery and three counts of providing alcohol to minors. In her tiral, two female students testified that Schuler plotted her defense before the allegations of sex with students became public. When sentencing the teacher, Warren County Judge Robert Peeler said he believes Schuler has mental problems but doesn't believe she's insane.
This week Schuler was processed and released from the Warren County Jail at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, just hours after Judge Robert Peeler issued his ruling. Schuler told Peeler that she had used her year in prison to participate in programs that will "prevent me from making very bad decisions in the future." Prosecutors argued that Schuler, who faced decades in prison on the charges, already received a break in sentencing and that her early release would send the wrong message about how male and female sexual offenders are treated.
The teens testified Schuler had been drinking alcohol at the time of the encounters and was a willing participant who initiated much of the contact. Schuler’s attorney argued she suffered from a host of medical and psychological problems exacerbated by her use of Zoloft and copious amounts of alcohol.
Schuler told the court that her biggest mistake was not asking for help when she needed it.
"I allowed myself to get overworked and not sleep and make excuses why I didn’t need to get some help and turned to really unhealthy means by drinking alcohol to try to fall asleep, and as a health professional, I knew better than to do that," she said.
Testimony for the prosecution included a father of one of the victims, who said his son injured himself due to a misguided question about Schuler. A mother of a victim also spoke, she said she wants to forgive, but she has yet to receive acknowledgement from the school or from Schuler. As she finished speaking, she said release is not justified.
One of the victims testified in court Tuesday morning.
“I trusted Ms. Schuler during a rough time in my life and she used that trust against me,” he said. “Most people in society feel that it’s every 17-year-old male’s fantasy to sleep with their teacher. Being young and naive at the time, it was. What most people fail to realize is that this fantasy could be turned into a nightmare that I’m still living in today."
Schuler's attorney applied for early release on May 31, but the judge ordered additional psychological testing before he would consider the request.
Peeler said he received dozens of letters of support for Schuler, including one from one of her victims who felt Schuler needed mental health treatment and had served enough time in prison. Another victim asked the judge to keep Schuler locked up. Peeler said he made his ruling based on the seriousness of the crimes and Schuler's likelihood to re-offend.
Schuler will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of her life and she is not permitted to profit from her story for the period of her probation.