A former Arroyo Grande High School teacher will likely serve 90 days in San Luis Obispo County Jail after pleading no contest to a single felony charge of sexual intercourse with a person younger than 18.
Tara Yvonne Stumph entered the plea at a hearing in San Luis Obispo Superior Court on Thursday morning. She received a sentence of 180 days, but under California law she likely will serve just half of that. As part of her plea agreement, the state dropped a second felony charge — oral copulation with a person under 18 years — as well as three misdemeanor counts of child molestation.
Stumph will begin her sentence May 1. In addition, Judge Gayle Peron ordered that Stumph receive four years of supervised probation. Under the terms of that probation, Stumph will be required to undergo specialized counseling and periodic polygraph tests, to have no contact with males younger than 18 and to stay away from middle schools and high schools. Failure to abide by those conditions could result in Stumph serving the maximum sentence of three years in County Jail.
However, Stumph will not be required to register as a sex offender.
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The 36-year-old woman was charged in August 2016 with victimizing a 16-year-old student, following an eight-month investigation by the county District Attorney’s Office. In a related lawsuit filed by the family of the victim, it was alleged that Stumph had victimized at least one other student before.
Stumph was a five-year employee of Arroyo Grande High School prior to December 2015, when the criminal investigation began.
The civil case, which names both Stumph and the Lucia Mar Unified School District as defendants, is scheduled for a hearing May 11.
Lee Cunningham, spokesman for the District Attorney’s Office, said that although “the facts of the case seemed to require some jail time,” his office approved the plea agreement because Stumph had no prior criminal history and “it was felt like she was a good candidate for formal probation.”
Cunningham said Stumph’s sex did not play a role in her sentencing.
“Both in terms of the crime that she plead to and in terms of the sentence, if it were a male with no criminal history and it appeared to be an isolated incident, the sentence would be very similar if not identical,” Cunningham said. “I think that it’s an appropriate sentence. It was a very difficult situation.”
Asked about the allusion to possible other victims, Cunningham said, “The complaint we received dealt with a single student.”
Stumph’s attorney, Patrick Fisher, did not respond to The Tribune’s request for comment.
The California Commission on Teacher Credentialing suspended Stumph’s teaching license in the field of hospitality, tourism and recreation in August 2016. A spokesperson for the commission did not respond to The Tribune’s inquiry into whether Stumph’s license will be revoked.