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Former WHA school counselor sentenced

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A former guidance counselor with the Walker-Hackensack-Akeley School District has been sentenced for contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a gross misdemeanor.

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Amy Louise Bauer-Nelson, 44, of Nisswa, Minn., was sentenced Tuesday in Cass County District Court by Judge David Harrington. She was ordered to serve one year in jail and pay a $3,000 fine, with the sentence stayed for two years.

As conditions of the stayed sentence, she was placed on supervised probation for two years and must serve 30 days in the Cass County Jail; 10 of those days may be served on electronic home monitoring with an alcohol sensor.

Other conditions of the sentence include: that she must pay $85 in statutory court costs, plus probation fees; she must disclose the conviction to all potential employers; she is prohibited from using, possessing or consuming alcoholic beverages; she is subject to random testing; she is prohibited from contact with the children involved in the case and their families; she must follow all of the rules set by the Minnesota Department of Corrections and sign a probation agreement; and she must remain law-abiding and of general good behavior.

According to the criminal complaint:

A woman reported to the Cass County Sheriff's Office on June 11 that her daughter was a runaway and had been spending an "inordinate" amount of time with Bauer-Nelson.

The daughter and mother had recently fought because the mother took the daughter's car away because she had been operating the vehicle without a driver's license.

The vehicle, the mother said, had been purchased for the daughter by Bauer-Nelson, according to the complaint.

The mother said her daughter had spent time with Bauer-Nelson at the WHA school and had gone out to lunch with her, shopping and to the movies.

The mother also said Bauer-Nelson purchased two cell phones for the girl, and that she had been told that her daughter had consumed alcohol at Bauer-Nelson's home, according to the complaint.

During an interview with investigators, Bauer-Nelson denied purchasing a vehicle or cell phones for the girl.

Bauer-Nelson said the girl was making payments toward the car and cell phones.

She did say that she spent a lot of time with the girl because, to her knowledge, the girl did not have a good home life, according to the complaint. She said they had gone shopping and had eaten out on several occasions.

Bauer-Nelson also said the girl had spent the night at her home several times, but denied a romantic relationship.

Officers told her that the mother had officially reported the girl as a runaway and that Bauer-Nelson was to have no further contact with the girl.

The girl's brother later told investigators that the girl showed up at his residence in Bauer-Nelson's vehicle after she was told not to have contact with her, according to the complaint.

Investigators interviewed the girl on June 15, at which time the girl was evasive and denied much of the allegations. She did say that she had regular contact with Bauer-Nelson by phone and spending significant amount of time at her home.

She also admitted to consuming alcohol at Bauer-Nelson's residence, but said she did so without Bauer-Nelson's knowledge, according to the complaint. She denied a romantic relationship.

A friend of the girl on that same day told officers that she knew the girl and Bauer-Nelson spent time together and had accompanied both of them on a trip to the Twin Cities.

The friend said she had seen the girl consume alcohol at Bauer-Nelson's residence, according to the complaint.

Investigators also collected 28 photographs of the girl, which were provided by friends of the girl's MySpace Web page. Some of the photos showed images of the girl drinking.

During another interview with police, the girl's friend said many of the photos taken of the girl drinking were taken at Bauer-Nelson's residence or in her boat, according to the complaint. The friend said Bauer-Nelson saw the girl mix a drink and that some of the pictures were taken by Bauer-Nelson.

The girl's sister also told police of incidents and stories that involved the girl and Bauer-Nelson, according to the complaint. Two of the incidents involved marijuana.

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