Image: Stacy Schuler
Cara Owsley  /  The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP f
In a February 2011 file photo, Stacy Schuler, right, is escorted by Hank Arnett, Warren County Sheriff's Deputy after she turned herself in at the Warren County Courts Building in Lebanon, Ohio.
updated 10/27/2011 4:15:22 PM ET 2011-10-27T20:15:22

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, received four years 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.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Video: Judge rejects insanity in school sex case

  1. Closed captioning of: Judge rejects insanity in school sex case

    >> school teacher in ohio has been convicted with having sex with five of her students after a judge rejected her insanity defense . kevin tibbles has more on this. hey, kevin . good morning.

    >> reporter: in delivering his decision the judge said he could not make the leap. that former teacher stacy schuler should have and must have known it was wrong. as the trial came to an end she sat composed and quiet often appearing as if she was praying. the 33-year-old former gym teacher admitted to having sex in her home with five students, some of them football players from the mason, ohio, high school . the prosecution said she deserved to go to jail.

    >> they trusted her. she violated that trust.

    >> reporter: during the trial the court heard from the students. it permitted them to not have their faces shown.

    >> they were making out and she pressed her body up against mine and i was towards the -- my back was towards the back of the wall and then, um, we started having sex .

    >> reporter: the defense team claims she was not guilty by reason of insanity, painting a picture of a caring teacher with mental disorders who with a mix of anti-depressants and alcohol lost control .

    >> she has a personality where people can take advantage of her.

    >> reporter: the prosecution argued she knew what she was doing was wrong.

    >> she got drunk and made some really poor choices. does that mean she's insane? no.

    >> reporter: it took judge robert peeler just over an hour to return the verdict saying he could not accept the insanity plea .

    >> i cannot make the magnificent leap required to accept a proposition that at the time of the commission of the offense you did not know as a result of severe mental disease or defect that wrongfulness of your acts.

    >> reporter: then his decision on the 16 counts of sexual battery and three of serving alcohol to minors.

    >> i find you guilty of all counts.

    >> reporter: before sentencing the parents of two of the students described how the sexual encounters had damaged their sons.

    >> she played on their emotions and she crossed the line.

    >> you suffered through depression, lost motivation, almost didn't go to college.

    >> reporter: schuler wept while the parents were speaking. when offered the chance to speak in her own defense, she declined. the judge sentenced her to four years in prison. she was cuffed and led away. outside the court a former student said she felt sorry for everyone involved.

    >> on behalf of her, i feel she needs something different than prison. i feel she needs help. i don't think she should go to jail for four years.

    >> reporter: in addressing the court one of the students' parents said that what is also tragic about this story is that it overshadows the 99.9% of teachers who are doing a good job with our kids. ann?

    >> point taken. kevin tibbles, thanks.

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