A year and a half after resigning from her position at Ripon High School, a former teacher pleaded guilty to the charge of sexual assault to a student by school staff.

   Samantha Marco (formerly known as Fitzpatrick), 29, of Belington, W.Va., entered a guilty plea at her plea hearing Tuesday morning in Fond du Lac County Circuit Court.

   In accordance with the agreement that the defense and prosecuting parties have reached, Marco pleaded guilty to sexual assault of a student by school staff while the other three charges —child enticement­-sexual contact (Class D felony), exposing a child to harmful material (Class I felony) and resisting or obstructing an officer (Class A misdemeanor) — were dismissed but read in to the record for sentencing purposes.

   As part of that agreement, both sides are also free to argue the sentencing for her case. A date for sentencing has not yet been set; it is expected to take place some time after Jan. 1.

   Since she pleaded guilty to a Class H felony, Marco could receive a maximum penalty of up to six years — three years in prison with three years of extended supervision — along with a maximum fine of $10,000.

   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.

Read the full story, including details of the judge's comments to the teacher, in the Nov. 8, 2018 edition of the Ripon Commonwealth Press.