David R. Logsdon, 34, was sentenced to 15 years with all but one year suspended after he was convicted of sexual abuse of a minor, and the court ordered that he be released to home detention.
Logsdon, of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, engaged in sexual intercourse with a 16-year-old student on July 6, 2017, while he was tasked as her driving instructor through Greg’s Driving School of Westminster.
After Logsdon’s release, he will serve five years supervised probation. Logsdon will register for life as a sex offender.
Judge Thomas Stansfield, who presided over the sentencing hearing in the Circuit Court of Carroll County on Wednesday, said sentencing cases with a first-time offender who had committed a serious offense are challenging for the court.
His policy, though not shared by every judge, is to sentence first-time offenders to seek treatment to rectify their criminal behavior, he said.
“History has taught us that the prison system does not rehabilitate criminal behavior,” he said.
He said Logsdon’s case came close to that line for which he would impose incarceration and cautioned him that a violation of probation would likely result in a serious imposition of the 15-year sentence.
During the hearing, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Amy Blank Ocampo asked for active incarceration within the sentencing guidelines of four to nine years.
The victim gave a victim impact statement and said that although physical pain from the incident had gone away, she suffers psychological damage that is “irreversible.”
She suffers graphic nightmares and fears retaliation for speaking up about the assault, she said. She described how embarrassing and agonizing it has been to hear the facts of the case repeated and have to open up about them again and again.
The Times does not identify victims of sexual abuse.
Logsdon spoke briefly before the court and said that the time since the charges has been a learning experience and he feels remorse and regret. He hopes to take time for self-reflection and growth.
Supporters of Logsdon and the victim sat on opposite sides of the courtroom, and both became emotional during the proceedings.
Defense attorney Rene Sandler said her client has taken responsibility for what he did and seeks to change himself to become a better person.
Sandler said that an element of the case has been a “relentless” social media campaign against Logsdon that also re-victimized the teenager he abused.
It added “a whole new technological, social media layer of endurance for Mr. Logsdon and the victim in this case,” she said.
When contacted by phone Wednesday afternoon, Sandler said she did not have any additional comments on the case.
Janice Kispert, CEO of Rape Crisis Intervention Service of Carroll County, said the sentence feels frustratingly light from the point of view of an advocate.
“I think this is re-victimizing the victim,” she said of the sentencing. “She was very brave to speak out.”
She said when sexual crimes result in a light sentence, it can be a disincentive to other victims to talk about what happened to them.
The 24/7 hotline for Rape Crisis can be reached at 410-857-7322. The service offers free and confidential counseling services.
Logsdon’s father, speaking at the hearing, said that their tight-knit family had suffered over the past 18 months from harsh criticism from the public.
He said his son had offered no excuses and expressed deep remorse to his family.
Ocampo said she appreciated the defense acknowledging the impact of the social media attacks on the victim.
Ocampo emphasized that Logsdon had taken advantage of a student while he was a teacher whom a parent had trusted to take care of their daughter.
She said that in psychological evaluations, it became clear that the incident with the victim was not the first time that Logsdon engaged in sexual activity in the same isolated area of the driving school stairwell. Ocampo said that Logsdon, in his psychological evaluations, said he had engaged in sexual activity there with another 17-year-old student and with an adult co-worker multiple other times.
No unrelated charges of sexual misconduct have been brought against Logsdon.
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This story has been updated.