Ex-sub pleads guilty in SAHS sexting case
SUNBURY - A former substitute teacher at Shamokin Area School District pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to a felony of unlawful contact with a minor and a misdemeanor of corruption of minors, and will be sentenced within 90 days.
Michael S. Zack, 24, of 201 Warsaw St., Marion Heights, entered his plea before President Judge Robert B. Sacavage after being charged March 15 by Coal Township Detective Jeff Brennan with sending approximately 4,300 text messages to two 17-year-old females and two 16-year-old girls who attended Shamokin Area at the time. Many of the messages, which were sent between March 15 and Oct. 30, 2011, depicted sexually graphic material, police said.
Police said the incidents occurred in the east end of the township and at Shamokin Area Middle/High School.
A misdemeanor count of sending obscene and other sexual materials will not be prosecuted at sentencing.
First Assistant District Attorney Ann Targonski said the standard range sentence for the felony count is three to 12 months in county prison. She said the sentence will most likely involve intermediate punishment, including at least 90 days of house arrest. The misdemeanor charge could involve a sentence of five years of probation, which would run consecutive to the felony sentencing.
Targonski said there is no mandatory sentencing requirements involved in the case.
Prior to his plea, Zack voluntarily signed an affidavit surrendering his teacher's license, which had been suspended, Targonski said.
Zack was hired as a 180-day substitute teacher in the district in August 2011 and terminated by the school board at its December 2011 meeting, retroactive to Nov. 16, 2011.
Zack, who has no prior criminal record, told Sacavage he fully understood the ramifications of his guilty plea, which include waiving his right to trial and limited appeal options. Zack also waived his right to withdraw his plea.
Sacavage ordered the defendant to undergo a sexually violent predator assessment. The judge ordered a pre-sentence investigation in the case and said the defendant will be sentenced within 90 days.
Zack's attorney, Marc Lieberman of Elysburg, and Targonski reserved comment about the guilty plea.