Former North Medford vocal coach gets jail for abusing teen
A former volunteer vocal coach for North Medford High School was sentenced to jail and probation today after admitting to a late-night encounter with a 14-year-old in which he fled shirtless and pantless out her bedroom window.
Grant Edward Stutzman, 26, of Grants Pass, pleaded guilty to an official misconduct charge in Jackson County Circuit Court related to the encounter with the girl, whom he met while working as a grant-funded vocal coach for North Medford's choir last year. Stutzman already admitted to sex crimes that occurred in Josephine County involving the same victim.
In the middle of the night in mid-May 2016, in an incident the victim's parents called "inconceivable," Stutzman, 11 years older than the victim, sneaked inside their home and kissed their daughter in her bedroom.
"We were asleep in our house when this went down," the victim's father said.
Her mother said she heard a strange man's voice in the girl's bedroom and knocked. When their daughter refused to unlock her door, her father resorted to breaking it down. Stutzman escaped through the window without wearing pants or a shirt, her father said in court.
The victim's mother said Stutzman preached at his family's church that weekend before he picked their daughter up and spent the night with her at his parents' Grants Pass house, where Stutzman has since admitted to sexual activity with the victim.
Josephine County court records show that on April 27, Stutzman was sentenced to 30 days in jail and three years of probation after pleading guilty to felony counts of third-degree rape and third-degree sodomy. On Friday, he was sentenced to 60 days in jail and three years' probation for the official misconduct conviction and was ordered to report to jail July 3.
In the Josephine County case, Stutzman was ordered to pay more than $20,000 in restitution related to mental health costs after she attempted suicide in the wake of the abuse. She was hospitalized on suicide watch and treated at an out-of-area facility. Her mother told Circuit Judge Lorenzo Mejia that she's now "doing OK," but still struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder and doesn't like to be touched.
Stutzman was a school volunteer paid through a third-party grant, according to Medford School District spokeswoman Natalie Hurd. He had volunteered at the school for about eight weeks, according to Hurd. He had no criminal history prior to his relationship with the 14-year-old.
"Even when we do everything to follow the rules, and proper protocols are followed, we need to have our eyes wide open to relationships at school," Hurd said.
Medford police school resource officers and the district investigated after the police were called to the victim's house, according to Hurd, and found no indication that other victims were involved.
School volunteers are required to undergo a thorough background check that inspects more than 10 years of a person's past, according to Hurd.
Stutzman's lawyer, Jeni Feinberg, couldn't explain why her client engaged in the relationship. She said a psychosexual evaluation showed no attraction to prepubescent girls, adding that as a college graduate, "he's not a stupid person."
"He knows he hurt the victim, he hurt her family and he hurt his own family," Feinberg said.
— Reach reporter Nick Morgan at 541-776-4471 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @MTCrimeBeat.