By Shereen Siewert
WAUSAU — A 56-year-old D.C. Everest Middle School science teacher accused of tying up and sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl is facing multiple felony charges in Marathon County Circuit Court.
The alleged assault did not involve an Everest student.
Peter Schmidt, of Mosinee, faces charges of first degree sexual assault with a person younger than 16, using a computer to facilitate a child sex crime, child enticement, false imprisonment, intimidating a victim/dissuade reporting, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia. He appeared Friday in Marathon County Circuit Court for a probable cause hearing, where Judge Greg Huber ordered Schmidt held on a $150,000 bond, the first $50,000 of which must be paid in cash. He remains in the Marathon County Jail.
Everest Superintendent Kristine Gilmore issued a statement to parents explaining that though the child involved was not a student in the district, staff took immediate action.
“On the evening of August 21, the D.C. Everest Area School District was informed by the Mosinee Police Department that one of our Middle School staff members is the subject of an ongoing criminal investigation,” Gilmore’s letter to parents reads. “Upon receiving this notification, the district immediately took appropriate actions to ensure the safety of students and staff, including locking all of the individual’s electronic equipment, disabling district key card access, and placing the individual on leave including a directive to remain off district property.”
The investigation began in May after a now-15-year-old girl and her parents contacted Mosinee police to report the assault. The alleged victim told police that she met Schmidt, who used the name “Kyle,” on a social media app called Whisper in the summer of 2016. Soon after the two began regularly communicating on both Whisper and Snapchat, Schmidt began telling the girl he wanted to have sex with her and “make her purr like a kitten,” according to the criminal complaint.
At one point, Schmidt bought the girl about $300 in makeup and left it under a tree in a park near where the girl worked, police said, and continued to ask her to meet for sex. Eventually, the girl agreed to meet Schmidt in person and on a Friday in August 2016 he picked her up and drove her to his home. There, police say, Schmidt tied the girl to his bedpost using neckties and sexually assaulted her.
About a year later, the girl was contacted by a woman who wanted to know why she had been chatting with Schmidt and told the girl Schmidt was her boyfriend. The woman, whose name was not in court documents, revealed Schmidt’s real name to the girl.
Police searched Schmidt’s home, which matched the description the girl offered in her statement. There, they discovered a stash of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, which were seized by officers, according to court documents.
Gilmore said the district is cooperating fully with the investigation.
“Although the charges are not related to any student of the D.C. Everest Area School District, the district will continue to cooperate with authorities,” Gilmore said. “The safety of our students is our first priority. Our school counselors are available at all of our schools.”
Schmidt spent more than 28 years as a teacher in the D.C. Everest School District and taught at Riverside Elementary before his most recent role at the middle school.
If he is convicted on all charges, he faces up to 131 years in the Wisconsin Prison System. A preliminary hearing is set for Sept. 4.