Appeals court: Sentence Stober again



staff writer
A former Kalida High School teacher and coach must be sentenced again for his convictions for sexual offenses with students, an appeals court has ruled.
The 3rd District Court of Appeals, Lima, unanimously ruled this week that a Putnam County judge did not sufficiently say why he imposed a maximum prison sentence of 10 years and six months on Jeremy Stober.
A recent legal change requires trial judges to comment before imposing maximum and consecutive sentences.
Putnam County Common Pleas Judge Randall Basinger failed to properly say that at least two of Stober’s crimes were part of a pattern of conduct, according to the appeals court.
Judge Basinger did say the harsher punishment is fair and necessary to protect the public, as required. He also alluded to a pattern, according to the appeals court.
A separate Ohio appeals court has ruled that such an absence of explanation warrants resentencing. The 3rd District judges wrote that they have “no choice.”
“In this case, we are mindful of the fact that it seems obvious that there are multiple courses of conduct and multiple victims,” according to the decision.
Stober’s attorney, F. Stephen Chamberlain, said Tuesday he now intends to ask for a reduced sentence.
Chamberlain said he will review the decision further before determining a requested sentence.
Stober, 43, of Holgate, served as girls varsity volleyball coach, technology coordinator and teacher in Kalida.
A jury trial in February 2013 found Stober guilty of three counts of gross sexual imposition, and one count each of sexual battery and importuning. The jury determined that two teenagers were victims.
Stober was found guilty of touching the girls inappropriately, engaging in sexual intercourse with one girl, and soliciting sexual conduct with a girl.
Stober has denied all charges. He said during testimony that he was a father figure to one of the girls.
The girls’ testimony suggested Stober sent sexual texts and online messages to develop a relationship.
Among Stober’s arguments in his appeal were that jurors found him guilty through a misleading definition of “force” and questionable testimony.
The appeals court ruled Stober likely used his position of authority to “force,” or coerce, sexual contact. The higher court also said the jury is responsible for judging testimony.
“The jury was free to find Stober’s denials to be disingenuous, and/or otherwise evaluate Stober’s testimony,” according to the court.
In a 67-page decision, the appeals court ruled 3-0 against each of Stober’s objections, except for the sentencing language.
The additional sentencing hearing in Putnam County has not yet been scheduled.
Dunn: 419-427-8417
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