Trial Halted After Former Tulsa School Teacher Pleads Guilty
NewsOn6.com & Ashli Sims, The News On 6
TULSA, Oklahoma -- A former Tulsa Public School teacher's trial in Tulsa County District Court came to a halt Thursday when John Gisler decided to plead guilty to all charges.
During testimony Thursday morning, the teenager who accused Gisler of sexual abuse took the witness stand.
"We put on the victim. He did his testimony. He did an excellent job. It was very powerful," said Jake Cain, prosecutor. "And I think that is what broke the defendant's spirit, so to speak."
The now 18-year-old accuser told the jury how he met Gisler through the Big Brothers, Big Sisters program about five years ago. He calmly and methodically described how what started out as a talk about puberty grew into increasing amounts of sexual contact.
"Someone who was supposed to help look after him, mentor to him, instead he took advantage of him for his own sexual desires and gratification," Cain said.
The teenager said he started using drugs and was placed in the Tulsa Boy's home. It was there, in a group therapy session, that he revealed that he'd been molested by Gisler for nearly three years.
Prosecutors played a recording of a telephone call between the victim and Gisler, when the young man confronted him about the abuse. During that recording, you can hear Gisler crying and begging for the young man to not tell anyone.
He said, "Oh Please...don't... I'll kill myself if you do." At one point he admits, "I screwed up... I know it was wrong... I hurt you sexually... I'm sorry..."
The victim, who stayed calm on the witness stand, was very emotional during the recording.
"You could hear his voice rise up with power and saying, 'You're a sick, sadistic man and you took away my childhood," Cain said. "It's powerful each time Ms. Fulton and I listen to it. And I think it was powerful for the jury as well."
The victim and his family said it was "extremely gratifying" to hear Gisler admit his guilt. And now the victim can truly move on with his life.
"He's a survivor," Cain said. "I think he will continue to prosper and continue to live the life that he wants live. And he's going to survive."
John Gisler's attorney said it was his client's own words as much as the victim's that convinced his client to plead guilty. Gisler entered a blind plea of guilty on five felony charges. Those charges include three child sexual abuse and one charge each of lewd molestation and possession of pornography.
Sentencing for Gisler is scheduled for December 2, 2010.