2012 in Review: Former schools substitute teacher imprisoned for sexual contact with student

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FROM STAFF REPORTS

Aurora -- Former local schools substitute teacher Mary Schnell, 25, was sentenced May 11 to two years in prison on a charge of sexual battery, a third-degree felony, and was labeled a Tier III sex offender -- the most serious classification.

Portage County Common Pleas Judge Laurie Pittman also stripped Schnell of her teaching license and fined her $500.

As a Tier III sex offender, Schnell is required to register her address with her local sheriff's office every 90 days for the rest of her life upon her release from prison.

A hearing to determine whether Schnell can be released early from prison is coming up in early March.

She faced a maximum of five years behind bars, and was to be eligible for judicial release -- at Pittman's discretion -- after serving six months at the Marysville Correctional Institution.

Defense attorney George Keith asked for probation for his client, saying Schnell had suffered her own sexual assault in adolescence that led to some "arrested development" in her emotional growth.

Pittman said while she felt sorry for Schnell being victimized as a child, and though the victim's mother asked the judge in a letter to not send Schnell to prison, Schnell was not fit for a term on probation.

Schnell, who cooperated with an investigation by Streetsboro and Aurora police and the Portage County Sheriff's Department, had sex with a teenage boy at least twice in May and June 2011, at least one of those occurring in Mantua Township.

Schnell was responsible because she "is the adult; she was the teacher. Everyone has gone through something in their life, but that is not an excuse," Pittman said.

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