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Plea hearing set for Duluth teacher accused of assault

Karla Jean Winterfeld

DUKLUTH — A plea hearing is set for a Lincoln Park Middle School teacher accused of sexually assaulting a former student.

Karla Jean Winterfeld, 33, will appear Sept. 17 in State District Court in Duluth. She is charged with a felony count of first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

A criminal complaint alleges Winterfeld confessed to committing multiple sex acts with a 15-year-old victim between May 4-19. Investigators said they also recovered video recordings, photographs, text messages and other evidence supporting the allegations.

Winterfeld, who is free on $100,000 bond, appeared briefly for a settlement conference Friday, Aug. 31, before 6th Judicial District Judge David Johnson. Her defense attorney, Jacob Brodin of Minneapolis, requested the plea hearing.

A plea hearing is typically set when the parties believe they will have an agreement to resolve the case. Winterfeld in July tentatively waived any probable cause or constitutional challenges to the charge but asked to reserve her right to raise those issues in the future.

Winterfeld in June was placed on unpaid administrative leave "pending final disciplinary outcomes up to and including termination" after the Duluth School Board unanimously approved a letter of discipline. The final disciplinary outcomes and letter are not currently public information due to privacy laws since Winterfeld has decided to appeal the proposed discipline.