By LeAnn R. Ralph
CHIPPEWA FALLS — A retired special education teacher from the Elk Mound school district has pleaded guilty to one count of sexually assaulting a teenage boy to whom she was providing foster care.
Peggy Freitag pleaded guilty in Chippewa County Circuit Court April 23 to one felony count of sexual assault of a child by a foster parent.
Judge Steven Cray withheld sentencing, placed Freitag on 36 months of probation and ordered her to serve 150 days in jail and to perform 120 hours of community service.
Freitag also was ordered by the court to have no unsupervised contact with boys between the ages of ten and 18, was ordered to register as a sex offender and was ordered to participate in a sex offender assessment and to follow through and complete all required treatment.
According to the criminal complaint, Freitag initially was charged with three Class C felonies: sexual assault of a child under the age of 16; sexual assault of a child by a foster parent; and repeated sexual assault of a child.
In an interview at the Chippewa Valley Child Advocacy Center in August of 2014, the 15-year-old boy told interviewers that Freitag initiated sexual contact with him on a number of occasions and also initiated sexual intercourse.
The 15-year-old told the interviewer he “couldn’t even tell you how many times something happened” but estimated between ten and 15 times total.
The boy told interviewers that after the first sexual contact, he took a shower, and then “just sat there and cried,” according to the criminal complaint.
When asked if there was anything different about Freitag’s body under her clothing that he could describe, the 15-year-old said she had scars from breast reduction surgery.
According to the criminal complaint, a search warrant was executed for photographs of Freitag’s breasts, and the sheriff’s department investigator noted that Freitag did have scars.
The 15-year-old left Freitag’s residence in early August of 2014. The criminal complaint states that the first assault happened in April of 2014.
Freitag, 63, retired from the Elk Mound school district in June of 2011 after 28 years of service in Elk Mound and nine years of service outside of the district.
According to an article published in the April 25th edition of the Eau Claire Leader-Telegram, the Chippewa County district attorney’s office left the case open for a while to see if other foster children would step forward to report similar incidents, but no one else came forward.
The Chippewa County district attorney’s office reported that Freitag had been investigated in Dunn County about ten years ago but was never charged and that the person who claimed to have been abused has died, according to the news report.
Freitag, a resident of County Road F in the Town of Wheaton, made an initial appearance in Chippewa County Circuit Court September 23, 2014.
A $1,000 cash bail was set August 13.
Sexual assault of a child by a foster parent carries a penalty of up to a $100,000 fine or 40 years in prison or both.