Former educator sentenced in sexual assault case

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A former Assistant Principal at Millard South was sentenced Thursday on two counts of first degree attempted sexual assault.

Matthew Fedde accepted a plea deal in charges that he was having relations with a 15-year-old student.

Fedde was arrested a year ago and appeared in Judge Marlon A. Polk’s courtroom for sentencing Thursday morning.

Douglas County Prosecutor Beth Beninato didn't pull any punches in her assessment of Fedde.

She wanted him to receive the maximum sentence.

“(Fedde was) her authority figure, her mentor, she cared about him, she looked up to him and he took full advantage of that, Beninato said. “He engaged in sexual intercourse with this fifteen year old child four times. Twice at the school. She is a victim and she's not a grown woman she is a child.”

Defense Attorney Steve Lefler did not excuse Fedde's behavior.

“We are not here asking for probation, we understand that you've got to put him in jail,” Lefler said.

But he argued that his client wasn't the only one at fault.

“She was not a young woman that was on the way to the nunnery,” Lefler said.

But Beninato was having none of it.

“Let’s put culpability where culpability is due and let’s put responsibility where responsibility needs to be placed and it needs to be placed on the grown up responsible for these actions and that's Matt Fedde not this child,” she said.

The victim's mother addressed the court, expressing frustration over how the case has proceeded.

”We are left broken, she said. “A plea was accepted, a judge recused, a new randomly appointed judge replaced, unexplainable but we accepted everything that came our way.”

“I have to hear Mr. Lefler again victim shame my daughter,” she said. “She’s a fifteen year old, let’s not forget she's fifteen.”

The young victim also spoke in court.

“I feel so disappointed in him and myself. I'm ashamed of myself for every introducing myself and shaking his hand because he didn't deserve the pleasure of meeting me and I don't deserve the pain,” she said. “I will never forget the way he stood in the hall or the way he walked or the way he laughed but I'm starting to. I deserve justice and others deserve safety.”

Judge Marlon Polk said, “This is one of those cases that has kept me up at night,” he said. “I don't think any parent would remotely ever think they would have to deal with the fact that their daughter is having or being subjected to relations with a 45 year old educator.”

Judge Polk then sentenced Fedde to two terms of 18 to 24 years, served concurrently.

“I'm a little disappointed but I respect Judge Polk. I mean you could tell this was a very emotional decision for him. I really admire the young woman for getting up and speaking her piece, that was pretty powerful. I mean. I'm the father of three daughters myself it breaks my heart for the family to have to go through that.”

“The judge came in lower than what we asked for,” Douglas County Attorney Don Kleine said. “I thought mom and victim did a very good job during sentencing explaining what they had to go through during this process.”

As for Fedde, he will spend several years behind bars and have to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.