Teacher avoids jail for sex with teen student, blames “personal trauma” for clouding judgment

A former Hermantown Middle School teacher apologized Monday as she was sentenced for the sexual assault of a former student.

Madeleine Ruth Schmaltz, 30, was placed on three years of supervised probation after pleading guilty in September to a felony charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct.

Madeleine Schmaltz

“During the spring of 2019, I was going through personal traumatic experiences that did cloud my judgment,” Schmaltz said at the virtual hearing of State District Court. “Since then, I’ve been working through those experiences, along with just trying to better myself, and I will continue to do so. I know that my clouded judgment has harmed the victim and the victim’s family, and for that I am truly sorry.”

Schmaltz had taught the victim a few years prior, according to a criminal complaint. The relationship came to the attention of law enforcement in June 2019, and she resigned from her teaching position at the school that same month.

Earlier that month, the mother of the teenager overheard her child in a phone conversation with a woman that sounded “sexual in nature,” the complaint stated. After checking the call log, the mother learned the teenager was talking to Schmaltz. The student’s parents told law enforcement that the former teacher had given the teenager several gifts.

A couple days later in an interview with officers, the teenager confirmed the situation with Schmaltz, the complaint said. The victim had been going to Schmaltz’s house in Saginaw for homework and mentoring.

The complaint states Schmaltz “admitted to sexual touching of the victim on the victim’s intimate parts and to having the victim touch her on her intimate parts.”

Sixth Judicial District Judge David Johnson ordered Schmaltz to register as a predatory offender and not have any contact with the victim or any unapproved contact with anyone under the age of 18, among other conditions of probation.

Schmaltz was granted a stay of imposition, which would allow the felony conviction to be deemed a misdemeanor if she successfully completes probation.

The victim’s parents attended the sentencing, but did not speak. They also submitted a written letter, which was not read into the record.

Defense attorney Ryan Pacyga said he has seen his client “come a long way” in understanding how her conduct hurt herself and others. He said Schmaltz, who is now living away from the Duluth area, is currently working in online clothing sales and is attending therapy.

Pacyga credited Schmaltz with taking responsibility from the beginning and make amends.

“She’s sincerely apologetic for her behavior, she recognizes the pain that she caused and she’s doing what she can to put not only herself in a better place, but eventually be able to move forward with her experience and help others,” he said.


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