WALKER - Cass County Attorney Christopher Strandlie announced Tuesday that a former Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School guidance counselor was sentenced for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.
Judge David Harrington presided over the sentencing of Amy Bauer-Nelson on Tuesday.
Bauer-Nelson was ordered to serve one year in the Cass County Jail and pay a $3,000 fine, Strandlie reported. Execution of the sentence was stayed. Bauer-Nelson was placed on supervised probation for two years with conditions.
The conditions stated she must serve 30 days in the Cass County Jail as probationary jail time and 10 of the 30 days may be served through electronic home monitoring with an alcohol sensor at her expense.
Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School Superintendent Wallace Schoeb said the issue came to the school's attention on June 11 following a complaint from a child's mother. School was not in session and Bauer-Nelson was suspended before school resumed. Schoeb said following an agreement he wasn't able to go into greater detail other than to say the allegation involved more than one child.
Bauer-Nelson worked for the school district for four years.
"We were very surprised with the allegations and that's why we called the Cass County attorney's office immediately," Schoeb said, noting there was no prior indications of concern and no prior incidents with Bauer-Nelson. Her record was as "clean as could be," Schoeb said.
The school district hired its own attorney and following recommendations, Bauer-Nelson was suspended and placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation. Schoeb said Bauer-Nelson is a married mother of three and is about 45 years old and lives in Crow Wing County.
Strandlie said red flags were raised relating to a teenage girl Bauer-Nelson was working with as a guidance counselor. Strandlie said the investigation through the summer followed allegations Bauer-Nelson provided alcohol to the minor, which was consumed in at least one instance at Bauer-Nelson's home. Another child also reported being supplied with alcohol. Bauer-Nelson was spending time with the teenager without the knowledge of the child's parents. Strandlie said Bauer-Nelson's actions included buying the 15-year-old a car even though she couldn't legally drive and buying the girl a cell phone.
Strandlie said it appeared Bauer-Nelson started trying to help the teenager but the situation went beyond overboard.
Bauer-Nelson submitted her resignation Jan. 11, which is effective Jan. 25. She was placed on paid administrative leave since Aug. 17. A hearing was scheduled before an arbitrator before the resignation.
Schoeb said the investigation was slowed as Cass County searched for the missing Leader man Peter Achermann. The school district paid Bauer-Nelson's salary during the administrative leave and hired a replacement. Schoeb said the legal process was to suspend her with pay until the investigation was completed. The resignation came in a form letter drafted by Bauer-Nelson's attorney and signed by Education Minnesota and Bauer-Nelson, Schoeb said.
Schoeb declined to comment on the results of the sentencing. Bauer-Nelson is required to pay $85 in court costs plus probation fees.
Bauer-Nelson is required to disclose the conviction to all potential employers. The Cass County attorney's office reported Bauer-Nelson is prohibited from use, possession or consumption of alcoholic beverages and must submit to random testing by law enforcement or probation.
Conditions of her sentence include a prohibition from any contact with the children involved or their families. She must follow the rules of probation, remain law-abiding and of general good behavior, the attorney's office reported.
The Pilot-Independent reported Bauer-Nelson pleaded guilty to a gross misdemeanor charge in December.
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