Lehigh Valley

Convicted sex offender twice violated sentence by contacting victim

Attorney asks judge to drop client's probation

EASTON, Pa. - The attorney for a former substitute teacher convicted of having sex with a student is asking a Northampton County judge to drop the requirement that she serve probation after her release.

But prosecutors argue that changing her sentence sends the message that she’s being rewarded for violating her sentence not once, but twice.

Kelly Aldinger pleaded guilty in December to a single felony count of institutional sex assault for carrying on a sexual relationship with an Easton Area High School student for about nine months. They were caught by police in May 2016 having sex in her car that was parked in the Easton Cemetery.

She was sentenced to 3 to 23 months in Northampton County Prison followed by two years of county probation.

Authorities granted Aldinger parole in March, but county Judge Leonard Zito on May 26 re-sentenced the now 50-year-old to 18 to 36 months in state prison for violating the conditions of her probation. Specifically, probation officials said Aldinger sent text and Facebook messages to the victim, failed to comply with sex offender counseling and failed to stay away from alcohol.

Aldinger is currently serving her prison term in Muncy, Lycoming County.

Defense attorney Phil Lauer initially filed a motion asking the judge to reconsider Aldinger’s new sentence. On Friday, Lauer said he was withdrawing the motion, but still asked the judge to eliminate a one-year state probation she was ordered to serve after her prison term.

Aldinger was not in the courtroom Friday.

Assistant District Attorney Tatum Wilson objected to Lauer’s request primarily because Aldinger ignored the court’s order to stay away from the victim a second time.

Aldinger stood before the judge last month and swore under oath that she would adhere to her sex offender treatment plan and have no contact with the victim, Wilson said. But she sent a letter to him less than a week later.

Lauer acknowledged it was a mistake for his client to send the teen a letter, but said Aldinger wrote it to give the victim an update on her case and tell him that she could no longer contact him.

But Wilson called the missive a “love letter,” indicating Aldinger signed it, “I love you.”

Aldinger is “clearly thwarting the authority of the court” and shouldn’t be rewarded for violating the conditions of her sentence, Wilson said. She specifically told the teen in her June 1 letter that her probation had already been reduced and that her attorney would get it reduced even further, according to Wilson.

If she serves her full sentence and fails to adequately complete her sex offender therapy, there would be no way to guarantee she is getting any treatment if the court eliminates her probationary period, according to Wilson.

Zito noted Aldinger and the boy would be legally allowed to have a consensual relationship by the time she’s released from prison. She could be eligible for parole in 24 months, if she completes sex offender therapy.

The judge said he will make a ruling next week.

In his original motion asking the court to reconsider its sentence, Lauer argued that the county probation office improperly used comments Aldinger made during treatment to review her parole. She was encouraged during sex offender treatment to disclose “any and all misconduct” to help in developing treatment, according to court papers.

Lauer said his client didn’t expect that any revelations she made would be used against her.

He also argues that probation officials failed to prove that she hasn’t complied with counseling. Aldinger contends that she’s had difficulty with the treatment that included name calling, assertions that she’s a liar and “accusations of misbehavior,” according to records.

Lauer argues the probation department failed to provide proof that Aldinger wasn’t complying with counseling and maintains the court can’t find that she violated probation because her probationary period wasn’t set to begin until November 2018.

He asked the court to modify her sentence based only on violating county parole.

Easton police said Aldinger first met the victim while working as a substitute teacher at the Easton Area Middle School, when he was in seventh or eighth grade. She began having a sexual relationship with the 16-year-old in the fall of 2015. Authorities said he was a 17-year-old junior, when Aldinger was arrested in May 2016.


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