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Former North Dakota teacher pleads guilty to 6 of 8 charges in sex crimes case

Shannon Moser and defense lawyer Scott Brand listen to sentencing guidelines during Moser's plea hearing at Cass County District Court on Monday, Aug. 27. David Samson / Forum News Service

FARGO -- A former West Fargo middle school teacher accused of sharing illicit photos and videos with students and having sexual contact with two of them, pleaded guilty to six of eight charges against her on Monday, Aug. 27.

Shannon Moser, 37, was charged in Cass County District Court with two charges of using a minor in a sexual performance involving two students, one of whom she is accused of having illegal sexual contact with per a sexual assault charge.

She also was charged with four counts of luring minors by computer involving four other alleged victims, one of whom she was accused of having illegal sexual contact with per a charge of gross sexual imposition.

On Monday, Moser pleaded guilty to one count of gross sexual imposition, one count of sexual assault and four counts of luring a minor by a computer. The remaining two charges were dismissed.

“We’re  pleased the case is developing how it is developing; we’re pleased Miss Moser entered the guilty pleas today,” prosecutor Tristan Van de Streek  said.

Moser was led into the courtroom for the hearing in handcuffs. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit, with her hair braided, Moser immediately began to cry as she joined her attorney, Scott Brand.

Judge Douglas Herman told Moser she must pay close attention when pleading guilty to the gross sexual imposition charge as it would carry a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison with a maximum penalty on the charge of life in prison.

The latter, however, is a rare sentence in Cass County District Court.

Moser quietly pleaded guilty to the gross sexual imposition charge which claimed she had sexual contact with a 14-year-old boy.

Herman said charges of luring a minor are not often seen in Cass County.

Moser, of Moorhead, made her first court appearance Tuesday, July 24, by video conferencing, and her bail was set at $30,000.

She has remained in the Cass County Jail since she turned herself in on July 20.

Brand said Moser has no intention of posting bail.

“Regardless of what you set bail at my client does not intend to post it,” Brand said.

On Monday, Herman set a new bail at $100,000.

Van De Streek said he was not aware of any safety concerns placed on Moser at the jail.

“I’m not aware of any threats to her or anything like that,” he said. “No mental health defenses have been raised in this case.”

Before resigning from her post on July 12, the same day the West Fargo School District was notified of the ongoing investigation, Moser had been a science teacher at Liberty Middle School since fall 2016.

An improvement plan was placed in her teaching file during the 2017-18 school year regarding her classroom conduct after staff and students reported inappropriate conduct.

A pre-sentence investigation was ordered and a sentencing will be set at a later date.

Wendy Reuer

Wendy reports for The Forum and West Fargo Pioneer, where she is also assistant editor. A University of Minnesota Morris graduate from North Dakota, Wendy started her career in television news and entertainment in Minnesota and at CBS in Television City, Calif. before working at newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. 

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