A former Ripon High School teacher who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a student has been placed on probation.

   Samantha Marco, formerly Samantha Fitzpatrick, now of Belington, W.Va., has been given a withheld sentence, and placed on probation for three years instead. She received the news today (Monday) in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court.

   The 29-year-old has been awaiting sentencing since November, when she entered the “guilty” plea for the single count of sexually assaulting a student by school staff.

   Prior to that, she’d been facing charges also of child enticement-sexual contact, exposing a child to harmful material and resisting/obstructing an officer.

   She received the charges based on allegations that, while teaching English at Ripon High School during the 2016-17 school year, Fitzpatrick had sex with a 17-year-old student.

   During her “inappropriate relationship” with him, they had exchanged texts, Facebook messages and phone calls.

   She resigned from her teaching position May 3, 2017, five weeks before the end of the school year. The Ripon Area School District administrators cited “unreliable attendance” as a factor for her resignation.

  Read the full story in the Feb. 14, 2019 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.