A Newburg janitor who was charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a student and then fired over the incident in July pleaded guilty in Phelps County Circuit Court Monday.
A Newburg janitor who was charged with having an inappropriate relationship with a student and then fired over the incident in July pled guilty in Phelps County Circuit Court Monday.
Charles Adam Mihlfeld, 47, of Newburg, entered pleas of guilty to statutory sodomy and sexual contact with a student on school property in court before Circuit Judge Tracy Storie.
The judge sentenced Mihlfeld to seven years for the sodomy charge and four years for the sexual contact charge.
Those are the maximum sentences allowed by law. Mihlfeld will serve the two sentences concurrently.
In exchange for the plea, John Garrabrant, senior assistant prosecuting attorney in the case, dismissed a second count of statutory sodomy that was alleged to have taken place over the summer on the Newburg High School campus.
According to Phelps County Prosecuting Attorney John Beger, once Mihlfeld gets out of prison, he will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.
"He will never work around children again," Beger stated in a news release.
"Almost nothing is as important as the protection of our children," Beger stated. "However, we must always weigh the interests of protecting the community against the trauma these young and vulnerable victims can suffer by going through the criminal justice process."
A guardian/conservator of the 15-year-old male student was in court Monday. The student testified earlier at a preliminary hearing in the case, which Garrabrant said was "particularly difficult" for the victim.
Newburg Schools Superintendent John Westerman, upon hearing of the sentences, said, "We are glad that there is a resolution to this matter. We will continue to provide care and assistance to the victim. The district has taken a good hard look at our policies and practices. We believe we are in a very good position to protect our students from this type of event in the future."
Mihlfeld, who had work as a custodian in the district for more than 20 years, was fired shortly after school officials were made aware of the incident, which occurred around July 24, 2012.
Mihlfeld and the student were discovered inside a locked room at the high school by a teacher.
When Mihlfeld was questioned by law enforcement at that time, he denied the allegations of engaging in a sexual act with the student.
According to a probable cause statement regarding the incident, the student told deputies that he and Mihlfeld were friends and would go out to lunch and dinner together.
A news release from the county prosecutor's office stated that Mihlfeld recruited the student to assist him while he performed maintenance work around the campus over the summer.
The Phelps County Sheriff's Department handled the investigation.