Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Milwaukee teacher sentenced to 25 DAYS in jail, 2 years probation

Kelly Marie Sweet, 27, a former St. Francis, WI math teacher, was sentenced to 25 days in the Milwaukee County jail and 2 years probation by Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Patricia McMahon yesterday. She also has to register as a SO for the duration of her probation, and her teaching certificate was permanently revoked. Judge McMahon admonished Sweet, saying, “You were in position to protect and guide, to keep your students safe.”

Assistant District Attorney Paul Tiffin told McMahon that Sweet and the victim became friendly after the boy broke his foot. He spent extra time in her classroom. With his parents’ permission, they had dinner together. Twice they went to her downtown Milwaukee condominium to watch movies.

The second time they went to her apartment — March 9 — Sweet joined the boy on her couch. They kissed. As the situation grew more sexual, the boy asked to be taken home. Sweet complied. [Note – the apartment is in the former Blatz brewery building, now converted to condoes and apartments. It is 3 blocks north of where I work.]

Both the victim’s grandmother and father spoke during the hearing while the boy’s mother, her face bright red, sat in the back of the courtroom and wept.

The boy, an eighth-grader, was forced to switch schools in the final months of the school year, they said, leaving behind not only friends, but also academic and athletic awards he had earned. They said that has been followed by whispers and innuendo. They said the once outgoing boy is now withdrawn, mistrustful and too embarrassed to leave his house.

The grandmother asked, “He wonders how to go on with the rest of his life - Why did you forever change our lives?” Her son, the boy’s father, said, “What she did is take our son’s innocence away.”

The plea deal that Sweet made lived up to her name, because the original charge was 2nd degree sexual assault of a child, punishable by up to 40 years in prison. Her final charge was 4th degree sexual assault, a misdemeanor. Perhaps her current status as a paralegal at her father’s law firm has something to do with it.

Her attorney, Robert J. Lerner, told McMahon stated that the assault had worse of an impact on his client that the victim, a statement which stunned the boy’s family. The condo where the assault occurred is still owned by Sweet, but she lives in Jefferson County, between Milwaukee and Madison.

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