Update: Woman criminally charged for having sex with studentA 34-year-old River Falls woman has been charged by the Pierce County district attorney with first degree sexual assault of a child. The woman was a special education aide with the school district’s alternative charter Harbor school program. The alleged victim was, at the time of the incident, a 12-year-old 7th grade male student.
By: Phil Pfuehler, River Falls Journal
A 34-year-old River Falls woman has been charged by the Pierce County district attorney with first degree sexual assault of a child. The woman was a special education aide with the school district’s alternative charter Harbor school program. The alleged victim was, at the time of the incident, a 12-year-old 7th grade male student.
The felony charge against Rebecca Ann O’Malley-Tietz, 628 High Ridge Road, is punishable by up to 60 years in prison.
According to a joint statement from Police Sgt. John Aubart and River Falls School Superintendent Tom Westerhaus, O’Malley-Tietz was “terminated during her probationary employment because there were concerns by the district about her understanding of the role of an aide and her relationships with students, staff and parents.
“The school district had no knowledge of the sexual assault between the employee and a student during the time of her employment in the district.”
O’Malley-Tietz was hired by the district in Aug. 28, 2007 and fired on March 27, 2008. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UW-River Falls in December 1999.
Aubart said the original police investigation about allegations concerning O’Malley-Tietz ended because the boy wouldn’t cooperate. Later, after he went through counseling, more details emerged and police got involved again.
In the criminal complaint, the boy said he stayed at O’Malley-Tietz’s house for a brief time because of conflicts in his own family.
The boy says he eventually had sex many times with O’Malley-Tietz -- at her home, including in the living room and bedrooms, plus in a car while the two drove around and parked in River Falls.
He also says the two had sex in a room at the River Falls Academy, 211 Fremont St. He estimated the sexual encounters went from fall 2007 to late spring 2008.
O’Malley-Tietz, who is married and has a daughter, allegedly warned the boy that “he would die if he ever said anything to anyone about what happened between them.” The boy claims she threatened him with a small handgun.
The complaint also says there was an “inappropriate touching” incident that took place between the boy and woman at the River Falls Academy, where the Harbor program was held. Another teacher intervened and the case was sent to Pierce County Human Services to investigate.
The boy told police O’Malley-Tietz initiated the sex and even bought him clothes at ShopKo.
When questioned at the River Falls police station on Nov. 17, O’Malley-Tietz first denied a sexual relationship with the boy, saying she acted “more like a mother.” She said the boy did slap her on the bottom at school and she told him never to do that again.
Later in the police questioning, according to the complaint, she did admit to one sexual incident at her home “because he forced himself on me.”
O’Malley-Tietz’s had an initial appearance in Pierce County Circuit Court at 2 p.m. Thursday, and was given a $25,000 signature bond. She will have a preliminary appearance at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.