A 30-year-old Little Rock woman was sentenced to six years on probation Monday and ordered to register as a sex offender for sexually assaulting a 17-year-old student while she was a teacher at Maumelle High School in 2021.
Stephanie Renee Almand pleaded no contest to third-degree sexual assault in exchange for the probationary sentence imposed by Pulaski County Circuit Judge Leon Johnson.
Her sentence also requires that she pay a $1,500 fine and submit to regular drug testing. Almand was ordered to stay away from her accuser under penalty of criminal charges. The charge is a Class C felony that carries a 10-year maximum sentence.
Under the conditions of her plea agreement, negotiated by deputy prosecutor Melissa Brown with defense attorneys Birc Morledge and Toney Brasuell, the charge was reduced from first-degree sexual assault while a second first-degree count was dropped. The first-degree charge is a Class A felony that has a 30-year maximum sentence.
Almand, the mother of one, was arrested in June 2011 after an investigation by Little Rock police who had jurisdiction because the then-teenage accuser said their two sexual encounters occurred at her home. Authorities said those occurred between April 5, 2021, and May 5, 2021, with Maumelle police hearing about it on May 7, 2021.
According to police reports, Maumelle police were told by two students that the classmate, 17 years old at the time, was "dating" and having sex with Almand. One student described Almand's relationship with the classmate as "odd" in that she treated him differently from other students, showed him preferential treatment and spent a lot of time with the boy.
The student described how Almand would write a note and then throw it in the trash. The 17-year-old would get the note, write on it, then put it back in the trash, where Almand would fetch it.
The second student said he'd heard rumors that Almand was having sex with the 17-year-old and described them passing notes back and forth.
A third student questioned was "very reluctant to speak" but said Almand and the 17-year-old "had something going on." Another student told him the 17-year-old had disclosed a sexual encounter with Almand, that student also told investigators.
That fourth student later told police Almand and the classmate were "closer than they should've been," describing how the classmate told him he and Almand were dating and that they had sex once.
When questioned directly about what was going on with Almand, the 17-year-old said he had sex with her, stating that their interactions began in a text exchange when she told him she liked him.
Almand had invited him to her home on two occasions and they had sex each time, stating that their most recent encounter had been a few weeks earlier. He said their relationship was more than just sex and that he also did school work at her house and they would have conversations.
Once Maumelle investigators learned Almand lived in Little Rock, that police force assumed jurisdiction three days later.
The 17-year-old told Little Rock detectives he "felt a little weird" after having sex with Almand and described how he told her he wanted to end things after their second encounter.
"It wasn't what I expected. Sounded like a good idea at first but once it actually happened ...," he told police. "After I went over to her house the second time ... I told her I didn't want to do it any more."
He said their age difference got to him.
"She's a grown woman and I need to be messing around with people my own age," he said. "I just got to thinking about it one day."
He said Almand was understanding, telling police that their relationship came to the attention of authorities just after he had ended things with her.
Almand declined to submit to police questioning. Investigators later searched her home and took pictures of her with her lawyers in attendance.
The circumstances and date of Almand's departure from employment at the Maumelle School District are unclear.