A former Northeast Wisconsin teacher and coach convicted of sexually assaulting young female students was sentenced Thursday to 15 years in prison. 33-year-old Ryan Zellner of Allouez will also serve another 18 years of extended supervision and three years probation.
The crimes date back to 2002 while he was employed at West DePere, Green Bay Southwest and Kiel High Schools.
One of the 11 victims tearfully took the stand calling Zellner “a coward” who “brainwashed” so many girls. “He told me no one would believe me because of his authority.”
With so many victims telling similar stories, Manitowoc County Circuit Court Judge Daryl Deets said, “Your explanation of this behavior in minimization doesn’t hold water Mr. Zellner.”
Zellner’s parents asked that their son be sent to counseling rather than prison, because he has “a social behavioral problem not a criminal profile.”
The convicted offered a tearful apology.”I broke the trust all of you had in me and caused all of you a lifetime of pain, sadness, stress and anger,” said Zellner.
The state asked for 20-to-25 years of initial confinement plus 30-to-35 years of extended supervision. Conditions of extended supervision include registering as a sex offender, no unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18 and full-time employment with the exception of teaching and coaching.