Karla Winterfield, a 33-year-old teacher in Duluth, Minnesota, is being held at St Louis County Jail after she was booked on charges of sexually assaulting a student. The alleged victim is reportedly between 13 and 15 years old. Police have said they do not believe there are any other victims.
Winterfield was being held on probable cause for third-degree criminal sexual conduct and was booked into the St. Louis County Jail on Monday, May 21. Winterfield, a teacher at Lincoln Park Middle School in Duluth, has been placed on administrative leave.
If found guilty, the criminal sexual conduct charge carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a fine of $30,000. She was scheduled to appear in court on Wednesday, May 23.
via CBS 3:
The district said it placed Winterfeld on administrative leave and is cooperating with the Duluth Police Department on their investigation. Police say the victim has been identified, and they haven’t been made aware of, or believe, there are other victims.
Winterfeld is a health teacher in Lincoln Park Middle School where she works with the district’s at-risk students and families, according to the ISD 709 website. In 2016 she received the Greg Irons Award for her work.
“She has an aptitude to see what needs to be done and carries out actions to address issues and to assist where needed. Students will tell you that Mrs. Winterfeld has been their inspiration at school and they have grown in strength and ability when facing life’s challenges due to her support,” a news release from the district said at the time.
Winterfeld also earned Duluth News Tribune’s 20 under 40 in 2016.
The Duluth School District released a statement on Tuesday, May 22, saying that they are fully cooperating with the police investigation and that the allegations against Winterfield are “shocking and disappointing and the safety and well-being of students is our topmost priority.”
Winterfield is just the latest teacher to be charged for an alleged relationship with a teenager student. Over the course of just a few months, educators across the country were arrested for entering into an inappropriate relationship with their students, Tennessee teacher Janet Smothers, LaToya Parker, Florida teacher Caroline Lawson, 26-year-old Allyson Moran and Katherine Ross Ridenhour were all arrested on similar charges.
The list goes on to include 22-year-old Oklahoma science teacher Hunter Day, 28-year-old teacher Megan Kotarski, 23-year-old history teacher Michelle Schiffer, 29-year-old Alyssia Marie Reddy, special education teacher Jordan Ondish and 28-year-old Samantha Fitzpatrick have all been allegedly carrying on inappropriate relationships with their students.
In addition, 31-year-old Nicole Marie Andrews, 32-year-old Jessica Langford, 29-year-old Andrea Baber, 27-year-old Robin Dunlap, 27-year-old Jennifer Olajire-Aro have also been charged with these charges.
42-year-old Heather Butts of California was arrested on a second-degree felony charge, Nancy Leigh Ann Brann, a former Christian school teacher, was arrested for having sex with a student, Coine Audiat pleaded no contest to having sex with a minor in 2016 and 23-year-old Darci Lake was arrested for an inappropriate relationship. 27-year-old Brittany Zamora from Arizona was arrested on similar charges. Keri Hoffman, 35, was also arrested for an alleged relationship with a student. More recently, 29-year-old Tiffany Ranweiler-Oblander was arrested on similar charges.