Darlington High School teacher charged with having sex with student

DARLINGTON, Wis. — A Darlington High School gym teacher is facing several felony charges after he allegedly had sex with one of his students on multiple occasions, according to details in a recently-filed criminal complaint.

Jesse Sturtz, 23, is charged with four counts of sexual assault of a student by school staff, according to online court records. Each charge carries a possible sentence of 6 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine.

The complaint filed against Sturtz alleges that he had sex with a 17-year-old student on four separate occasions. Sturtz and the victim first met each other in September 2021 while the victim was enrolled in one of his classes. The complaint alleges that the two “got comfortable with each other” while she was in his class, which led to them flirting in class.

During an interview with a Lafayette County Sheriff’s Office detective, the victim reportedly told the detective her relationship with Sturtz changed after he messaged her on a social media platform in December 2021. After that exchange, the victim said she and Sturtz spent time together on multiple occasions during which they would get food and talk while parked in various store parking lots.

On Jan. 15, Sturtz and the victim took a trip to Dubuque for dinner before making their way back to Wiota where they parked behind the Wiota Church and had sex in the back of the vehicle. In the meantime, a law enforcement officer approached the vehicle and asked them both to identify themselves. According to the complaint, the victim lied about her age because she didn’t want Sturtz to get in trouble.

The victim also told the detective during their interview that Sturtz was “freaking out” during the incident.

During an interview with law enforcement after Sturtz was put on administrative leave, the victim told authorities she and Sturtz had sex on four separate occasions, contrary to her initial statements that it only happened once.

When asked if Sturtz had faced any disciplinary action from the Darlington Community School District following the allegations, District Administrator Cale Jackson said in an emailed statement that Sturtz was “was immediately placed on a leave of absence pending further information and decision making.”

Strutz’s initial court appearance is scheduled for Feb. 14 at 1 p.m. in Lafayette County Circuit Court.

Read District Administrator Cale Jackson’s full statement to News 3 Now below:

Upon becoming aware of a Sheriff’s Department investigation into the off-duty conduct of Mr. Sturtz, he was immediately placed on a leave of absence pending further information and decision making.

The District is cooperating with the Sheriff’s Department with respect to their investigation.

The District will undertake its own investigation when appropriate to do so.

I will share more information as appropriate.