Former School Board Member Defends Relationship With Teen

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Julian Stolz, a Lehigh County school board member, resigns amid a controversy that he began a relationship with a student when she was a minor. NBC10's Doug Shimell sat down with Stolz and has the story. (Published Tuesday, Oct 15, 2013)

    A Lehigh County school board member has stepped down after parents and critics called for his resignation, claiming his relationship with a teenage girl crossed the line.

    Julian Stolz was only 19-years-old when he went from being a student representative on the East Penn School Board to a full-time member. When Stolz turned 20, he began dating 15-year-old Sahrin Holderman. Both Stolz and Holderman insist the relationship never turned sexual.

    “There was no sexual relation,” Holderman said. “It didn’t have anything to do with what he was doing on the school board or what I was doing as a student.”

    Despite their claims, Stolz still decided to end the relationship after four months.

    “I was concerned about being on the school board and dating her at the same time,” Stolz said. “Hindsight being what it is, I probably should’ve resigned my school board seat and spent the last five years with her.”

    Stolz, who is now 25, and Holderman, who is now 20, are now dating again. A new opposition website began pushing for his resignation, citing both his relationship with Holderman when she was a teen as well as his account on a social media website for teenagers as their reasoning.

    The website claims Stolz had an account on TeenSpot.com and used a shirtless photo as a profile picture. Stolz’s critics also claim he used the account to find underage girls.

    “I’ve never had any inappropriate contact with underage girls,” Stolz said. “The account itself had not been active for over a year. I know how it looks. There was nothing inappropriate going on. There was certainly nothing illegal going on.”

    Some concerned parents still believe Stolz crossed the line.

    “I don’t know how you can excuse that kind of behavior,” said Hillary Smith. “It’s just not appropriate for any adult to be dating a young teen, let alone an elected official.”

    “If I was a 21-year-old teacher and I dated a 15-year-old student, even if there was no sexual nature involved, I would have my perp walk already,” said Justin Burkhardt. “I would be in handcuffs!”

    Stolz believes he is being targeted by opponents because of his anti-union and pro-taxpayer stance. Holderman agrees.

    “They’re trying to focus on what his personal life is instead of what his politics are,” Holderman said. “If they’re going to ask him to resign at least have something meaningful like politics.”

    Stolz also says Holderman is being harassed.

    “I’m not okay with them going after her and I would like to see that stopped,” Stolz said

    In light of the controversy and alleged harassment against Holderman, Stolz made the decision to resign.

    "Serving on the East Penn School Board has been everything from an honor to pure hell depending on the time," Stolz said. "I enjoyed every minute of it."