LEBANON, Ohio - A former Mason High School teacher convicted of having sex with multiple students was released from prison three years early.
At her hearing Tuesday, Stacy Schuler admitted to what she called "poor choices" and said she was "terribly sorry for what (I have) done."
"This last year in prison has humbled me a lot and given me the chance to reflect on my actions and choices and I would like to take full responsibility for all of the crimes and all of the harm and the pain that I caused everyone who is involved," Schuler told Warren County Common Pleas Judge Robert Peeler.
Peeler described Schuler as a 'model prisoner' and said he believed she was unlikely to re-offend.
After the hearing, Schuler was taken to the Warren County Jail, where she met with a probation officer. She was released Tuesday afternoon and left with her parents.
In October 2011, Schuler was sentenced to four years in prison for having sex with five Mason High School students in her Springboro home in 2010. The 34-year-old health and gym teacher was sentenced on 16 counts of sexual battery and three counts of providing alcohol to a minor.
"I made two main mistakes. As a teacher I should have set very clear boundaries with my students, but I wanted them to feel comfortable to come talk to me," said Schuler.
"My second major mistake was that I allowed myself to get over-worked and lose sleep and turned to really unhealthy means to try to fall asleep by drinking alcohol," said Schuler.
"My last year in prison I've been going to every rehab that's available. I've been in counseling for bipolar disorder and depression," continued Schuler.
She became eligible for judicial release in April after serving six months of her four-year prison sentence.
Schuler's attorneys argued the former teacher had been a model prisoner whose been teaching yoga, tutoring fellow inmates, and working with the prison cook to provide healthier meals.
During the 2011 trial, the teens involved testified Schuler had been drinking alcohol at the time of the encounters and was a willing participant who initiated much of the contact. Her lawyer argued she had medical and psychological issues.
Parents for one of the victim's urged the judge to keep Schuler in prison.
One victim addressed the court directly and said, "Most people in society feel as if it is every 17-year-old's fantasy to sleep with his teacher. Being young and naive at the time it was. What people fail to realize is that the fantasy quickly turned into a nightmare that I am still living today."
Also, the family of one victim told the judge they didn't want Schuler to profit from the sale of her story.
The prosecutor had countered that Schuler should serve her full sentence.
She was being held at the Ohio Reformatory for Women in Marysville.
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