Former Missouri high school assistant principal Elizabeth Giesler has been sentenced to probation following accusations that she sexually assaulted a 16-year-old student, The Kansas City Star reports. Giesler will also be required to surrender her teaching license.
Giesler took what is called an "Alford Plea," which effectively means that, though she does not admit to any criminal wrongdoing, she concedes that prosecutors potentially have enough evidence to convict her, should she go to trial.
Back in 2018, as The Park Hills Daily Journal reported at the time, Giesler had been the assistant principal at Ste. Genevieve High School, about 65 miles southeast of St. Louis. It was at this time that a 16-year-old student, who had reportedly been staying with Giesler at her home, told a friend that he and Giesler were having sex. The friend told police, according to a companion Daily Journal report, and a Missouri state trooper took the young man's statement. The boy told the trooper that Giesler had performed unspecified sex acts on him at some point during the time period between April 7-8, during a regional baseball tournament. The teen also said that he and Giesler had engaged in sexual activity two other times. The teen claimed that all of the sex acts occurred at Giesler's home.
The trooper who took the teen's report turned the case over to the county prosecutor. Soon enough, Giesler was fired from her job with the Ste. Genevieve School District, and was behind bars. She was charged with three counts of Class E felony sexual contact with a student, three counts of a Class D felony of statutory sodomy in the second degree, and two counts of statutory rape in the second degree.
This week, Giesler accepted a deal in which she would enter an Alford plea to one charge of second-degree harassment. In exchange, she would give up her teaching certifications and would accept two years of probation.
The prosecutor, Ste. Genevieve County Prosecuting Attorney Wayne Williams, noted that the sentence may seem light in relation to the crime.
"As a prosecuting attorney, I'm considering several things," he said, noting that Giesler did not have a prior criminal history.
Williams also noted that the key bit of punishment for Giesler is the surrendering of her teaching license.
"Some people might not understand the bargain that was struck in this case unless they really understand what she had to give up voluntarily to get that bargain. That was basically her livelihood, and she had to surrender that," Williams said.