OTTAWA — Somehow two young girls whose lives were turned upside down by a Kalida teacher and coach seeking sexual gratification found a way to forgive him.
Each girl stood before Jeremy Stober on Monday, just several feet away, telling him how he harmed them with his sexual advances.
Stober looked down most of the time except when one girl asked him to look at her.
He had nothing to say then or before he was sentenced to 10.5 years in prison for three counts of gross sexual imposition, and one count each of importuning and sexual battery. The sentence is the maximum.
The case isn’t over, however. Stober is facing the charge of bribery, a third-degree felony for trying to solicit an inmate in the Putnam County jail to convince the girls to change their stories, Assistant Putnam County Prosecutor Todd Schroeder said.
During the hearing, Schroeder said Stober carefully groomed the two girls and numerous others over nearly a 20-year career. He was a teacher and girls’ volleyball coach.
“His conduct as a teacher and coach toward students is egregious,” Schroeder said.
One of the young victims, whom Stober seduced, told him she has been suicidal and cuts herself.
“It’s sickening,” she said.
But she also said he was forgiven.
“I hope you get help,” she said.
Another young victim told Stober other girls thanked her for being brave enough to come forward.
“I knew it was getting too far, and if I didn’t do something, it would get out of hand. That is why I came forward,” she said.
She said Stober was there for her at times when she needed it but he should never have pursued her in a sexual way.
“I hope someday you will know what you did was wrong,” she said.
Both girls addressed Stober’s family, including his two sons in the courtroom, and said they were sorry.
Judge Randall Basinger made sure Stober knew his actions led to the case and were the reason he was going to prison.
“Your acts had a profound effect on the victims and upon others,” he said.
The judge also spoke of the special office given to educators, a trust Stober obliterated.
“It makes the breach all the more egregious and all the more of a problem because it is incredibly difficult to repair that,” Basinger said.
Stober exchanged thousands of text messages with various girls. His usual pattern was to start out simple and lighthearted but progress to flirting. Stober would then try even more obvious advances with those appearing more receptive and attempt to talk the girls into sleeping with him, Schroeder said.
Basinger listed the length of time, nearly 20 years as a teacher with multiple victims, as one of the reasons for the maximum sentence.
Once he is released from prison, Stober will have to report every three months for the rest of his life as a sex offender.