Stephanie Walzl, 26, received a two-year sentence

By Kyler Alvord
June 28, 2021 01:30 PM
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Stephanie Walzl
Credit: Howard County Police

A former high school teacher and lacrosse coach in Maryland will spend two years behind bars for sexually abusing a female student, the State's Attorney's Office says.

Stephanie Walzl, 26, was arrested in September after police investigated a tip that the Reservoir High School teacher had been inappropriately engaging with a minor.

According to the Howard County Police Department, detectives uncovered nearly 69,000 text messages between Walzl and the student dating back to December 2019, when the victim was 16. The messages revealed that the two were in regular contact before, during and after school.

Walzl pleaded guilty to five counts of sex offense in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor charge in Maryland that covers student-teacher sexual contact. On June 21, she was sentenced to five years in prison with all but two suspended.

"In this instance we requested a longer period of incarceration but the Judge after considering all factors felt that a lower sentence was appropriate," the Maryland State's Attorney's Office said in response to a social media comment criticizing the length of the sentence. "In this case there were two variables which played a large role in the sentence given: 1) the defendant had no prior record, and 2) the victim's in court request for leniency."

Following two years in the Howard County Detention Center, Walzl will be on supervised probation for five years, must complete sex offender treatment, may not have unsupervised contact with minors, may have no contact with the victim and must register as a sex offender. 

If Walzl breaks the terms of her probation, she may face an additional three years in detention.

"Teachers and coaches have an influential role in the lives of young people and at no time, ever, should they use their position of authority to take advantage of a student entrusted to their care," said State's Attorney Rich Gibson in the office's statement. "This type of improper conduct will not be tolerated by our office and offenders will be held accountable for their actions."