DULUTH - Ahead of her sentencing, a former Duluth teacher apologized for sexually assaulting a 15-year-old former student and sought leniency.
Karla Jean Winterfeld, 34, pleaded guilty in October to a felony charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.
Winterfeld’s sentencing was to occur Tuesday, Dec. 4, but was postponed to Dec. 18. In anticipation of the hearing, she submitted a letter of apology addressed “to the courts and Duluth community.”
“I am deeply sorry to my family, my victim, his family, and this community for the damage, pain, hurt, sadness, disappointment, and anger I have caused that cannot be undone,” she wrote, “but please know that this will never happen again.”
The letter was attached to a motion filed by defense attorney Jacob Brodin, who said he will seek a departure that would keep Winterfeld out of prison. Also submitted were more than three dozen letters of support from community members, including several teachers and other professionals in the Duluth school district.
Minnesota sentencing guidelines call for an executed prison sentence ranging from 12 to more than 14 years for an offender with no criminal history who is convicted of a first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. To depart from guidelines and impose probation, a judge must find “substantial and compelling circumstances.”