A woman who has served as a high school educator and lacrosse coach in Maryland faces a two-year imprisonment over sexual abuse charges against a girl student, according to the State’s Attorney’s Office.
The 26-year-old Stephanie Walzl was caught by the authorities in September. The police subjected her to a probe according to a tip they received that she had been attached improperly with a teen.
Detectives were able to retrieve about 69, 000 text messages between the suspect and the 16-year-old female student, based on the Howard County Police Department. The uncovered messages were exchanged in December 2019 when the two were dating, revealing that they had kept their contact open.
The suspect gave her guilty plea to five counts of fourth degree sex offense.
“In this instance we requested a longer period of incarceration but the Judge after considering all factors felt that a lower sentence was appropriate,” according to the state’s attorney’s office. “In this case there were two variables which played a large role in the sentence given: 1) the defendant had no prior record, and 2) the victim’s in court request for leniency.”
The suspect will undergo a five-year supervised probation after serving a couple of years in the Howard County Detention Center. She must also finish sex offender treatment and faces restrictions regarding contact with minors and the victim herself.
She can face another three-year imprisonment if she violates her probation’s terms.
“Teachers and coaches have an influential role in the lives of young people and at no time, ever, should they use their position of authority to take advantage of a student entrusted to their care,” Attorney Rich Gibson said in a statement. “This type of improper conduct will not be tolerated by our office and offenders will be held accountable for their actions.”