An assistant principal charged with raping a 16-year-old student in Missouri has avoided jail time by accepting an Alford plea, allowing her to assert innocence while acknowledging the evidence proves her guilt beyond reasonable doubt.
Elizabeth Giesler, who served as the assistant principal of Ste. Genievieve Middle school in eastern Missouri prior to the indictment, accepted the Alford plea earlier this week, according to court records.
Rather than serving jail time, Giesler reportedly agreed to serve two years probation, as well as voluntarily surrender her teacher’s license.
The 39-year-old assistant principal was charged with sexual contact with a student, statutory sodomy and statutory rape in 2018, The Kansas City Star reported.
The unidentified student told police about three sexual encounters he had with Giesler, including one reported instance at the assistant principal’s home when she performed oral sex on the child.
His father told local news channel KTV1 that Gielser acted as a mentor in the boy’s life.
“She talked to us about my son and stuff like this,” he said, “what she can do for him through life, you know, give him a better life.”
He added: “She was going to try to make sure he got on the right path.”
The middle school where Giesler was employed also told the news channel that she had been placed on leave pending the results of the investigation.
Ste. Genevieve County prosecuting attorney Wayne Williams defended the Alford plea in a statement to the Daily Journal, saying he considered her lack of a criminal record and how she would no longer be able to work in schools after surrendering her teacher’s 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,” Mr Williams said.
He added: “That was basically her livelihood, and she had to surrender that.”