A Wisconsin school has cleared a special needs teacher of “inappropriate behavior” with a teenage pupil just weeks before she allegedly began 18 months of abuse, a court heard.
Jessica Kelbel, 29, has been charged with sexually assaulting the boy at Madison’s Richardson School, which serves students with “developmental/neurological disabilities and emotional and behavioral problems.”
The boy’s mother warned the school that her son was ‘in love’ with the teacher in April 2022 after seeing alleged messages between the two on Snapchat.
The school concluded that “the content did not merit further investigation” and allowed him to continue teaching.
But she was arrested on Jan. 25 after the boy’s brother told a friend that the couple had allegedly been having sex for a year and a half.
Jessica Kelbel, 29, has been charged with felony H sexual assault of a student by school staff and is scheduled to make her first court appearance on March 7.
Dane County Court heard the abuse may have lasted up to 18 months between teacher and student at Richardson School in Madison.
Kelbel resigned from the school after police began investigating in December and her husband, Trevor Quinn, filed for divorce on February 5.
Police were alerted in December when the friend reported the brother’s claim.
When they arrived at the children’s home on December 20, the brother told them that Kelbel had been on the phone with his victim 15 minutes earlier urging him to deny any sexual contact.
“Detective Vang asked the child victim if he, at any time, had any relationship, sexual relationship, sexual contact with Kelbel or any other teacher in the past,” the complaint states.
“The child victim stated that he never participated in any of the activities described, neither with Kelbel nor with anyone else.”
Kelbel denied any contact with the boy outside of the school setting when officers spoke with her later that day.
Detective Vang rephrased himself and asked Kelbel, “So you never had sexual relations with [Child Victim]?” Kelbel responded: “No,” the complaint continues.
But the student’s brother claimed the boy had a video on his phone of the couple having sex, and officers interviewed Kelbel again on Jan. 25.
The married mother of two continued to deny the allegations before police said she admitted she had sex with the boy in October after he picked her up from a hospital surgical appointment.
“At that time Kelbel said, ‘We had sex at my sister’s house.'” “Kelbel said he performed oral sex on the child victim,” the complaint records.
She denied having had sex with him on any other occasion and said he had participated voluntarily.
“Detective Vang asked Kelbel if he coached Child Victim before interviewing him about any sexual contact with Kelbel,” the court was told.
‘Kelbel said he did not tell the child victim what to tell the police. She said she believed the child victim denied what happened because she wanted to protect her.
Kelbel of Carpenter Street resigned from the school after police began investigating and her husband, Trevor Quinn, filed for divorce on February 5.
The boy turned 18 in December and details of the school’s 2022 investigation only emerged after police asked administrators if there was any record of concern about Kelbel and his alleged victim.
“The victim’s mother called concerned about the contact through Snap Chat, expressing that her son ‘is in love with the teacher’ and also that her son knew personal information about Kelbel related to Kelbel’s family and children,” he told her. they told the police.
The boy’s mother warned at school that her son was ‘in love’ with the teacher in April 2022 after seeing alleged messages between the two on Snapchat
The school, whose motto is “home of the bobcats,” is one of several across the state owned by the Oconomowoc-based MyPath group, and said in a statement that it “takes student safety incredibly seriously.”
“In April 2022, a matter related to contact on social media was reported to us and investigated,” he said. 27 News.
“Although social media contact is a violation of our code of conduct, the content did not warrant further investigation and was addressed in accordance with normal company policies and procedures.”
Kelbel has been charged with an H felony count of sexual assault of a student by school personnel and is due to make her first court appearance on March 7.