A onetime Maple Grove High School teacher and assistant girls softball coach intends to plead guilty to a felony charge that she sexually touched and exchanged amorous text messages with a student she coached and tutored.
In a petition filed with Hennepin County District Court, Jessica M. Chase, 36, of Coon Rapids, wrote, “I had sexual contact with a 17-year-old while I was in a position of authority with her as [a] coach and a teacher” at the high school.
The plea to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct includes no agreement on what her sentence might be, Chase acknowledged in her petition. Her punishment could be as much as 10 years in prison and supervised release, along with a fine of up to $20,000.
A March 4 date has been set for sentencing of Chase, an All-America college pitcher at Texas State University in San Marcos who also was a private softball instructor in the Twin Cities.
Police learned of the relationship on July 22 and found several text messages from early this summer that pointed to the two meeting at the teen’s home in Maple Grove, where she lived with her parents.
The messages discussed “kissing, cuddling and touching,” read the complaint, filed in September. Chase said in one text: “I want you to 50 shades me.” Chase also made references to touching the teen’s buttocks.
While being questioned by police, Chase admitted kissing the girl and touching her inner thigh. She said she had known the girl for the past year and a half, taught at schools where she attended and also tutored her. She said she “directly coached the victim for one week.”
Along with coaching softball at the high school, Chase taught math. She came on board at the start of the 2014-15 school year and resigned within a week of police learning about the allegations.
Chase previously taught math at Wayzata High School in 2013-14 and was an assistant softball coach with the Trojans. She resigned from Wayzata after one year with no complaints against her, a district spokeswoman said.
Paul Walsh • 612-673-4482