An award winning teacher who “cultivated” a schoolboy and allegedly sent him explicit pictures and video has been jailed.
Tara Stumph, 36, pled no contest in a felony unlawful sex case in San Luis Obispo, California.
A court heard she had a year-long relationship with a 16-year-old student from 2014 to 2015 while she worked at Arroyo Grande High School.
A separate civil case brought by the victim alleged she “cultivated” his trust over time and encouraged him to share his feelings with her. The lawsuit also claimed she sent him explicit images and had molested him “during and after class”.
Stumph, who won a ‘Teacher of the Year’ award in 2013, has a husband and three children.
But she will serve six months in jail and four years on felony probation.
She is also banned from coming into contact with teenage children and must undergo counselling. However, she will not have to register as a sex offender, the Santa Maria Times reported.
If she had not entered a no-contest plea and was found guilty, she could have been sentenced to 10 years in prison.
The lenient sentence was recommended by Stumph’s probation officer, Dan Matich, who told the court: “The defendant has no prior criminal history and she clearly has ties to the community as evidenced by the several letters of support she has received in defence of her character.
"She has three very young children for whom she acts as the primary caregiver while her husband is away engaged in his duties as a firefighter."
Stumph will begin her sentence on 1 May while the civil case against her will be held on 11 May.
The student is suing for damages caused by emotional distress.
A court document said: “The sexual abuse and exploitation of (the victim), and the circumstances under which it occurred, caused (him) to develop various psychological coping mechanisms, which reasonably made him incapable of ascertaining that Stumph’s conduct was harmful to him.”