A record-setting Jeopardy! contestant who teaches history at a college in Michigan plead guilty last week to accessing the email accounts of fellow professors, school administrators and students.
Stephanie Jass, who set a women’s record in 2012 with a seven-episode winning streak on the long-running trivia show, also taught history at Michigan’s Adrian College. But last year, according to the Jackson Citizen Patriot, she took advantage of a campus-wide password reset to spy on emails sent by individuals including Adrian’s president and outgoing vice president.
Jass, 48, then told a fellow professor about the caper during a lunch meeting last year at a campus cafe. Though Jass didn’t say it outright, the coworker was left with the impression that she’d snooped on the email accounts for the purposes of blackmail, according to police documents obtained by the Patriot.
The coworker contacted human resources the next day, and after police became involved, Jass admitted to accessing the administrators’ email accounts—as well as those of fellow instructors and students including her stepson.
Prosecutors charged Jass with two felonies this past December. Adrian College terminated her employment this past January, and prosecutors dropped the second charge after she pleaded guilty last week to unauthorized access to a computer system. Jass is scheduled to be sentenced in July, when the maximum sentence will be five years in prison and a fine.
Back in 2012, in an interview with Jeopardy! host Alex Trebek after winning seven rounds on the quiz show, Jass sang the praises of a teaching technique she uses in the classroom in which students take on the personas of historical figures and role-play conversations with one another.
“And I bet you most of them want to play the heroes,” host Alex Trebek says.
“Of course,” Jass said. “Of course.”