Honoring alleged stalker: Olympic alum charged with harassing teacher, counselor


A photo of former cyclist Marty Nothstein sits in front of a signed jersey in a display case in the Emmaus High School athletic lobby. In Dec. 2021, Nothstein, a 1989 graduate of EHS, was arrested and charged with multiple offenses. Photo by Thomas Hartill.

Devon Helmer and Thomas Hartill

This previously ran in our February 2022 print issue.

In 2000, Emmaus High School graduate Marty Nothstein brought home an Olympic gold medal in cycling from the Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. 

A framed photo of Nothstein kissing that medal as well as his bike jersey prominently sit in EHS’s Sports Center as a testament to the former athlete–despite his recent arrest for stalking and harassing an East Penn teacher and guidance counselor over the last year, according to a criminal complaint. Some of those crimes allegedly occurred on district property.

A former Congressional candidate, Nothstein faces charges of criminal trespass, defiant trespass, and stalking. On Dec. 7, 2021, Pennsylvania State Police took Nothstein, 51, into custody when he was arraigned and later released on $25,000 bail. He faces a preliminary hearing this month.

According to the criminal complaint, Nothstein sent several letters to his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend as well as repeatedly stalked them for months. Both victims work at the same East Penn school. The letters consist of racial slurs, vulgar language, and threats of false reporting to their employers directed toward the involved parties; The Stinger is withholding the names of the victims. 

On March 16, 2021, the male victim found one of the anonymous letters at his Upper Macungie residence, later revealed to have been written by Nothstein. 

“Stay away from the n—- lover,” the letter said. “If the relationship does not end, a formal complaint will be filed with the PDE, EPSD HR Department and School Board.”

For nearly 13 years, Emmaus High School has honored graduates who later make  remarkable athletic achievements, such as retired NFL player Keith Dorney, field hockey Olympian Cindy Werley, and former NBA player Aaron Gray. Nothstein–who has both gold and silver Olympic medals in track cycling–is included. Still, interviews with school officials disclose that no move has been made as to whether Nothstein’s celebrated photo and jersey will remain featured in the sports lobby of the district’s high school as the charges of stalking two employees on district property remain. 

 Dr. Kate Kieres, Emmaus principal, believes that removing Nothstein from the Sports Center should follow due process of his legal case. 

“We try to be sure that people are treated fairly in terms of due process; so if we would get to a point where there were a person [who] was found guilty of wrongdoing, then I think that would probably cause the district to look at the manner in which a particular public figure is being honored,” Kieres said. 

“We don’t have a [removal] policy,” she said.

While numerous events outlined in the criminal complaint not only involve district employees, several occurred on East Penn property.

On April 16, 2021, the male victim’s vehicle was legally parked on school district property. The car was later discovered to have had the rear-passenger side window penetrated by an unidentified object. Both of Nothstein’s phones were found in the area at the time of the incident, the complaint states. 

Three days later, on April 19, an anonymous Safe2Say report was made to the school, falsely claiming the male victim had been watching pornographic videos on his device in the presence of students, according to police. Prior to the submission of this report, Nothstein had approached a Confidential Informant asking how to report innapropriate sexual behavior regarding the man, the complaint states. 

The informant subsequently completed a Safe2Say report for Nothstein, as they were a mandated reporter: a person who has regular contact with vulnerable people, in this specific context, children, and is therefore legally required to ensure a report is made when abuse is observed or suspected. In June, an anonymous letter was mailed to the counselor’s principal, making further explicit allegations, police say. 

Nothstein and the female teacher were involved in a six-year affair, beginning in 2014 until she ended the relationship in May of 2020; the victim told police that she ended the relationship with Nothstein, who was married, due to his emotional and psychological issues. Despite the termination of the affair, Nothstein continued to pursue her, going to lengthy measures to harass her and her new boyfriend by driving past the school and their houses, destroying property and making repeated phone calls, the complaint states. 

After graduating from EHS in 1989, Martin “Marty” Nothstein first entered the world-class level when he competed at the World Cycling Championships in France that same year. He then went on to compete in the 1996, 2000, and 2004 Olympic games, earning one silver and one gold medal in his Olympic pursuits.

After a few more years of competition, Nothstein returned to Eastern Pennsylvania, where he assumed the position of Executive Director of the Valley Preferred Cycling Center. Turning to politics, he then successfully ran for Lehigh County Commissioner. After this, however, he unsuccessfully ran for the United States House of Representatives in Pennsylvania’s 7th Congressional District, losing to current representative Susan Wild. 

It was during this campaign that controversy first arose when allegations of sexual misconduct against Nothstein came forward, yet all the alleged victims swore that the  misconduct did not take place. Following these allegations, the Valley Preferred Cycling Center placed him on unpaid leave and later severed ties with the Olympian.

Around the same time Nothstein returned to the Lehigh Valley, Emmaus High School introduced its new display case honoring athletically gifted graduates and their professional accomplishments, acting as an unofficial hall of fame. There is no specific criteria that needs to be met to be featured in the display case, but a common theme among athletes consists of professional and Olympic sporting achievements. 

Nothstein was one of the first athletes added to the case. Introduced in 2009, the display, made up of carefully selected graduates, was put together by a loose committee assembled of EHS faculty and staff, other graduates, and the Emmaus Historical Society. 

Leading the charge for the project was EHS’s athletic director at the time, Dennis Ramella. 

“I felt Emmaus didn’t do enough to promote ourselves and celebrate our history,” Ramella said. “We needed to re-enforce what happened before, so kids can realize and appreciate the great place they go to school.”

In the wake of recent charges surrounding the former athlete, Athletic Director Rebecca George recognizes the controversial figure Nothstein has become. 

“Marty: Olympic athlete. He’s in a little bit of hot water right now, though. Google his name, you get to see what pops up,” said George, noting there is no removal policy. 

Kieres said administration must use its judgment based on the proceedings and that no one’s placement is guaranteed: “In the absence of a policy the district would have to use its judgment in terms of how, why, and under what circumstances this person would continue to have an honored graduate designation.”

Emmaus junior and Valley Preferred Cycling Center cyclist Anson Wright recalled a memory from the time of the sexual misconduct allegations: the velodrome decided to remove any memorabilia honoring Nothstein and his accomplishments from their facilities. 

“I do recall that one particular summer day after a race my teammates and I were messing around under the bleachers at the Velodrome,” Wright said. “We found an old street sign stashed in the far corner that read Marty Nothstein Rd.” 

Repeated efforts to reach Nothstein for comment were unsuccessful. Currently, Nothstein’s preliminary hearing is set for this Friday, Feb. 25, at 1:30 p.m.