A married high school teacher and lacrosse coach has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to sexually abusing a student.
Stephanie Walzl, 26, from Manchester, Maryland, was arrested and charged with five counts of fourth-degree sex offense of a student in September in 2020.
Howard County Circuit Court Judge Mary Kramer sentenced Walzl to five years this past Monday, with three years suspended. She will serve two years behind bars at the Howard County Detention Center in Jessup, about 15-miles outside of Baltimore.
An investigation into Walzl’s conduct at Reservoir High School in Fulton began last summer in June of 2020 following a report of an inappropriate relationship between the teacher and a student.
Police uncovered evidence that dated back to December 2019, including tens of thousands of text messages between Walzl and the student in question over a six-month period.
“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,” Howard County State’s Attorney Rich Gibson said in a news release, according to the Baltimore Sun.
“This type of improper conduct will not be tolerated by our office, and offenders will be held accountable for their actions.”
The Howard County Public School System stated how Walzl is currently on unpaid administrative leave.
“We were aware of the arrest of one of our teachers and subsequent recent sentencing,” spokesperson Brian Bassett stated in an email to The Sun.
“Upon learning of these charges, this teacher was immediately placed on administrative leave, and [the school system] worked cooperatively with law enforcement and investigators throughout their process.”
Bassett added how both staff and administrators at the school gave support to students when Walzl was charged last year and will be sure to make support available to them now that the teacher has been sentenced.
Walzl will be on supervised probation for five years, when she is released from prison, and must successfully complete sex offender treatment.
In addition, she may not have unsupervised contact with minors, must have no contact with the student, and must register as a sex offender. Walzl graduated from Bridgewater College, where she met her future husband. The two married in October 2019. Walzl’s husband is also a public school teacher.
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