Former Mason teacher Stacy Schuler will have to wait a few more days to see if a Warren County judge will grant her petition for early release from prison.
A hearing on the motion scheduled for Friday has been pushed back to 11 a.m. Tuesday in Warren County Common Pleas Court.
Schuler, 34, was convicted last October on 16 felony counts of sexual battery and three misdemeanor counts of providing alcohol to minors. The encounters occurred in 2010 at her Springboro home.
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.
Warren County Common Pleas Judge Robert Peeler said he believes Schuler suffers from mental health and substance abuse issues, but sentenced her to four years, with the possibility of early release after serving only six months.
Schuler’s six months were up April 27, but her attorney, Charlie H. Rittgers, didn’t apply for early release until May 31.
“When somebody requests early release, they have one shot at it. If the court denies it, the person has to serve out their sentence,” he explained.
Peeler held an in-chambers pre-trial hearing on the petition in July and ordered additional psychological testing before he would consider Schuler’s request for early release.
Rittgers said his client is a model prisoner at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.
The former health and physical education teacher leads yoga and general education classes for her fellow prisoners, is undergoing mental health treatment for bipolar disorder and participates in a group for sex offenders.
Schuler and 62 other people wrote letters that Schuler’s attorney filed in support of her motion for judicial release in July.
Mark Krumbein, a Cincinnati attorney who’s been following the case, said that it’s uncommon for a judge to indicate when a person would be eligible for judicial release.
“You usually can’t count on it unless a judge gives you some indication. It sounds like he at least has an open mind to that,” he said. “In Stacy Schuler’s case, she’s got a lot of good mitigating circumstances in her life that would be big factors for Judge Peeler.”
However, he said that a similar case out of Warren County, that of Kings Junior High School teacher Lisa Karabinus, might set a precedent on what a judge considers sufficient penalty.
Karabinus, who was convicted in 2000 of having sexual relations with a 13-year-old student and sentenced to four years, was also eligible for release after six months. She served two years of that sentence.
Warren County Prosecutor David Fornshell said he would continue to fight to keep Schuler locked up.
“To release her after only one year demeans the seriousness of the offenses, and would send a bad message to others who might commit similar offenses,” he said. “Ms. Schuler was already given a break when she was sentenced to only four years. The public interest is best served by requiring her to fully serve the sentence that was imposed.”