Paragraph nine reads: “Reid also noted that just before committing the crimes last fall, Stitzel had stopped taking the antidepressant she’d been on for eight years.”
SSRI Stories note: Withdrawal can often be more dangerous than continuing on a medication. It is important to withdraw extremely slowly from these antidepressants, usually over a period of a year or more, under the supervision of a qualified specialist. Withdrawal is sometimes more severe than the original symptoms or problems.
Former teacher sentenced to 21 days
By Steve Lundeberg, Albany Democrat-Herald | Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 2:44 pm | (12) Comments
A former Albany private school teacher was sentenced to 21 days in jail Monday for engaging in inappropriate conduct with a 14-year-old boy.
Jenifer Stitzel, 34, also received 24 months of supervised probation that restricts her use of cell phones, other digital storage devices and the Internet, as well as her contact with minors, including the victim and his family.
Originally charged with two counts of luring a minor, a class C felony, and two counts each of third-degree sexual abuse and furnishing sexually explicit material to a child, both class A misdemeanors, Stitzel on Feb. 22 pleaded guilty to the sexual abuse and furnishing charges.
The crimes involved a male eighth-grade student at Central Valley Adventist Academy, where Stitzel worked as a preschool teacher at the time of her Dec. 2 arrest.
Heidi Sternhagen of the Linn County District Attorney’s office said Stitzel had sent sexually explicit text messages to the boy, including photos of herself. With him she had also engaged in kissing and “sexual touching,” the prosecutor said.
Sternhagen read aloud to Judge Glen Baisinger and the court a letter from the victim’s mother that asked Stitzel “why did you destroy my family, why did you destroy my son?”
“We’ve lost a family member,” the letter continued. “His body is here and his mind is not. My heart is destroyed every day.”
Stitzel sobbed as Sternhagen read, after which defense attorney Forrest Reid described his client as “extremely remorseful.”
Reid also noted that just before committing the crimes last fall, Stitzel had stopped taking the antidepressant she’d been on for eight years.
He added that she shows bipolar tendencies as well.
Stitzel read a statement to the court apologizing for her actions, acknowledging she had hurt many people and would try to spend the rest of her life earning their trust back.
“I’m truly sorry,” she said tearfully. “I made a huge mistake.”
In addition to incarceration and probation, Stitzel must register as a sex offender and undergo sex offender treatment.
“The facts of the case speak for themselves,” Judge Baisinger said. “The conduct was obviously reprehensible.”