Former Bellefontaine High School vocal music instructor Jason Stanford pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of attempted illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance Thursday morning in Logan County Common Pleas Court.
(Pictured: Jason Stanford (right) stands with attorney Dave Thomas during sentencing.)
Stanford, 30, of 1896 Township Road 179, Bellefontaine, entered the plea before Visiting Judge David Faulkner from Hardin County.
Faulkner sentenced Stanford to 180 days in the Logan County Jail with all but 30 days suspended. Stanford was given credit for four days he served earlier this year. He was labeled a Tier I sex offender, which means he must register his address with the sheriff annually for fifteen years.
In addition, Stanford was ordered to pay a $250 fine and court costs. He was placed on probation for two years, must attend counseling, and is not allowed to have contact with the victim.
In March, a Logan County Grand Jury indicted the former teacher on single counts of attempted sexual battery (F4), attempted illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material or performance (M1), and contributing to the delinquency of a child (M1).
As part of the plea deal, the Logan County Prosecutor's Office dropped the first and third counts.
The charges stem from incidents with a 17-year-old BHS female student.
The prosecutor's office said that Stanford pursued the student with texts, phone calls, letters, and some physical contact.
Authorities say that Stanford attempted to engage in sex with the student, but she resisted his advances and did not engage in sexual conduct with him.
Stanford suddenly resigned on Sunday, January 29th. He taught at the district for a year-and-a-half.
Stanford will report to jail on July 25th at seven p.m. His attorney is seeking work release privileges.
The victim read a prepared statement at the sentencing. She said that Stanford crossed the line when he pursued her.
The victim was joined by her parents. They declined to speak with the media.
Chief Assistant Prosecutor Eric Stewart said, "We're satisfied with the outcome. Our goal was to have Stanford register as a sex offender. The victim's family wanted Stanford to seek counseling. We achieved both goals."
Stewart expects the Ohio Department of Education to revoke Stanford's teaching certificate.
Stanford accepted responsibility for his actions. His attorney called the case a life-altering event, which caused Stanford to lose his job and ended his marriage.
Several of Stanford's family members attended the sentencing.