STEUBENVILLE - Linda Tate, 48, of 332 Springdale Ave., Wintersville, who admitted to sending nude photos of an Indian Creek High School student to school administrators, was placed on four years of probation Monday by Jefferson County Common Pleas Court Judge David Henderson.
Tate was indicted on one count of menacing by stalking, with a juvenile specification. The charge was a felony, punishable by up to 18 months in prison. She also was fined $1,000.
Jefferson County Assistant Prosecutor Jane Hanlin and defense attorney Peter Olivito came to an agreement whereby the juvenile specification was dropped, reducing the crime to a misdemeanor.
Tate admitted in court that she came into possession of the nude photos and called the sheriff's department for help in determining if the photos were illegal. She sent the sheriff a copy of the pictures but said she didn't hear back from him. Tate then admitted she sent copies of the photos to administrators and teachers at the high school.
A subpoena through the county prosecutor's office lead to the identification of the e-mail's origin as 332 Springdale Ave., Wintersville, under the name Nick Tate.
The girl in the photo was a homecoming queen and had taken the nude photos of herself and electronically gave the photos to her boyfriend. The photos were somehow removed from the boyfriend's phone and spread throughout the community.
Hanlin said Linda Tate was attempting to get school officials to remove the homecoming title from the girl.
"It sounded like the vindictive and petty actions of a (then) 47-year old," Hanlin said.
She said Linda Tate was indicted because of the "meanness" of her actions.
Olivito said life is full of choices.
"A number of people in this case made bad choices. My client is willing to take responsibility for her actions. Others in the case haven't taken responsibility," Olivito said.
Linda Tate's trial was scheduled to start today before Henderson.
Olivito said the trial would have "been a media circus."
Henderson told Tate at sentencing that it was a bad idea for the young girl to have taken the nude photos of herself.
"To distribute the pictures was an even worse idea," the judge said.
Hanlin read a statement from the young girl.
"I feel that Mrs. Tate's actions were reckless and hateful. Her only concern was her own selfish, cruel vendetta. I can only hope and pray that I as an adult I never stoop to her disgusting criminal behavior. You set out to destroy the lives of my family and myself, and destroy my senior year. Well kudos to you, you accomplished what you set out to do.
"As a result of your reckless, childish, irresponsible actions, my life has been changed forever. However, I truly feel sorry for you. My picture was the result of what I thought was love from someone. Your actions were the result of intense hate. You are the role model of someone I never want to be. I will continue to pray for you," the victim said in the prepared statement read by Hanlin.
(Law can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.)