Former teacher opts not to plead

Chance of jury trial remains on sexual assault, child porn charges

A former Gresham choir teacher who was expected to plead Thursday to multiple child porn and sexual assault charges opted instead to back out of the agreement at his plea hearing in Shawano-Menominee County Circuit Court.

Timothy J. Schmidt, 70, was charged in April of last year with 24 felony counts, including sexual assault of a student and 19 counts of possession of child pornography.

A jury trial that had been scheduled for later this month was pulled off the docket after Schmidt agreed to plea.

Judge John Rhode said there could be a significant delay in proceedings if a new jury trial has to be scheduled.

Schmidt was charged last week with an additional 91 counts of child porn possession.

Schmidt’s attorney, Tara Guelzow, told the court that Schmidt could still qualify for a public defender and would like to have the same attorney represent him in both cases.

The door was left open to Schmidt pleading at a future date.

District Attorney Greg Parker said the plea deal that was offered remains on the table.

Kussel set a new plea hearing date of Oct. 30. An initial court appearance on the new charges was also delayed until that date.

Schmidt resigned from the Gresham School District in April 2017 amid a police investigation that led to his arrest. He has been held on a $100,000 cash bond since then.

Parker said at the time that “many more” charges would likely be filed against Schmidt as the investigation continued and authorities proceeded with a forensic analysis of electronic devices owned by Schmidt.

Schmidt is charged in the original complaint with sexual assault of a student by school staff, child enticement, causing a child to view or listen to sexual activity, exposing a child to harmful materials, sexual exploitation of a child, and 19 counts of possession of child pornography.

He could face a maximum 40 years in prison and a $100,000 fine on the sexual exploitation charge if convicted, and 25 years in prison and a $100,000 fine on each of the child pornography counts.