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Another Hot Teach, Another Trial

ALBANY — Having sex with a high-school student was improper, unethical and illegal, a judge said this week as he sentenced a 42-year-old former teacher to six months in jail and 10 years probation.

But Albany County Judge Stephen W. Herrick also blamed the 16-year-old and other Christian Brothers Academy boys whom Beth Geisel had physical contact with for manipulating her lack of self-esteem and tendency toward alcohol abuse to get what they wanted from her.

“The 16-year-old in this case is a victim in the statutory sense only,” Herrick said. “He was certainly not victimized by you in any other sense of the word.”

Citing her desperate need for affection, Herrick said Geisel failed to realize she was being used for sex, and then laughed at behind her back.

Outside the courtroom, Albany County District Attorney David Soares blasted Herrick and his statements: “It’s pretty outrageous to characterize someone who was prosecuted by this office as anything other than a sexual offender. … I don’t understand why he accepted a plea in this case.”

Geisel pleaded guilty to one count of third-degree rape on Sept. 27 after admitting to having had sex with a 16-year-old in May. She was also accused of inappropriate physical contact with several 17-year-olds, including one whom Cohoes police allegedly found with her in the back seat of a car in June.

The plea deal also included a misdemeanor DWI count, which satisfied all charges against the former English teacher, including an August drunken driving arrest on Catherine Street.

In a brief statement to Herrick, the mother of four children said she regretted the pain she’d caused the community and her family and looked forward to fulfilling her obligations, which include in-house treatment and counseling.

Michele Morgan Bolton can be reached at 434-2403 or by e-mail at [email protected].

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