A former cross country coach at an Ohio high school was sentenced to 15 days in jail and a year of probation after she admitted to having sex with a teen student.
Martina Stanley, 35, will also have to register as a sex offender. The former coach at Elgin High School in Marion County pleaded guilty to felony attempted gross sexual imposition on May 5.
At her sentencing Monday, Stanley's defense attorney, Todd Anderson, said she knew the victim, a 17-year-old boy, because they were neighbors and not through school, according to WBNS-TV. He argued that Stanley didn't use her position of authority as a coach to coerce the victim.
"It's very important to understand here that the connection to her school is completely coincidental," Anderson said in court.
In a sentencing memo, Anderson also pointed to statements made by the victim. He said the boy joked about the sex to investigators, and bragged to friends that "he 'was fine' and that 'she [Stanley] is every school boy's dream.'"
"This is not to shift blame, but he was very aggressively pursuing Mrs. Stanley to escalate the relationship,” Anderson said.
The Marion County Sheriff’s Office launched an investigation of Stanley earlier this year, alleging that the coach had sex with the student away from school property on Feb. 12. She was originally charged with sexual battery but pleaded guilty to reduced charges.
The defense had argued for a misdemeanor, but prosecutors insisted on a felony charge.
“Would this be different if this was a male coach and a female student? It seems like we might look more harshly on that, which we shouldn't,” Marion County Prosecutor Brent Yager told WBNS.
Stanley apologized for her actions at her sentencing.
"I'd like to say with all of my heart and as humble as I possibly can, that I'm sorry,” Stanley said in court Monday. "I take this very seriously. This has been the hardest part of my life I've had to deal with because it rests on my shoulders, and I accept that."