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Former Stetson Student Avoids Trial for Stalking Professor

A former Stetson University student who was accused last year of stalking and threatening one of her professors has entered into a pre-trial intervention program, the State.

Attorney's Office announced today.

Charges of aggravated stalking and making a written threat to kill or do bodily harm will be dropped after a year if Sarah Katherine Foss completes the program, State Attorney's spokesman Klare Ly said. Foss signed the agreement Feb. 17, she said.

Foss, 20, of Gulf Breeze, was charged with sending a series of e-mails to David S. McCarthy, a visiting assistant professor in the university's history department.

Police said the e-mails indicated a romantic infatuation and demanded McCarthy contact her. They escalated to a series of threats, and the professor was in fear, police said.

In a press release, Federal Defense Attorney Rick Jancha said there was never any romantic relationship between his client and McCarthy.

"It has been determined by licensed medical professionals that Ms. Foss, at the time of the offense, was suffering from a temporary stress-induced mental health issue," Jancha said. "According to all parties involved, Ms. Foss has resolved that issue.

"She wishes to apologize to Professor McCarthy for any embarrassment or distress that he may have experienced."

Apologizing to McCarthy was part of the agreement, Ly said.

Foss now attends a different college, Jancha said.

If Foss fails to complete the program, the case will return to the court docket and she faces up to 20 years in prison.

One of the special conditions of the agreement include that Foss not have any contact with McCarthy and that she must undergo mental health counseling until the provider determines that treatment is no longer necessary, Ly said.

Copyright © 2012, Orlando Sentinel

Source: Orlando Sentinel

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