Sex abuse allegations disrupt Superior teacher's life
A Superior teacher's life was upended this spring with the click of a mouse. Laura Lee Janzig, 39, of Superior is accused of sending an e-mail to Superior School District administrators that falsely pegged the teacher as someone who had sex with ...
A Superior teacher's life was upended this spring with the click of a mouse.
Laura Lee Janzig, 39, of Superior is accused of sending an e-mail to Superior School District administrators that falsely pegged the teacher as someone who had sex with minors. The message led to administrative suspension for the teacher until an investigation was completed.
Janzig made her initial appearance in court Wednesday on one count of defamation. The class A misdemeanor carries a maximum penalty of nine months in jail and up to a $10,000 fine. She pleaded not guilty and was released on a $1,000 signature bond.
According to the criminal complaint, a man was the catalyst for the e-mail. Janzig told Superior Police Detective Tom Champaigne she wanted to cause problems for the teacher because the teacher had caused problems for Janzig and her fiance, who had a past relationship with the teacher. Janzig said her intent was "to disrupt [the teacher's] job and life," but that she realized she "had gone too far with this."
Several school district employees received the message in March, according to the criminal complaint.
"It was a very disturbing e-mail," Superintendent Jay Mitchell said. "That's why we handed it over to the police."
It accused the teacher of having group meetings with minors and students. It stated, in part: "We would engage in sexual activities and on occasion with either one of us taking photos or videoing sexual acts and using them for our own future pleasure. Many children we seduced after giving them alcohol or in some cases drugs. I have recently broke it off. My concern is her position with you at the school. I wonder how many children she has prompted to spend time with her alone?"
Mitchell told Champaigne of the Superior Police Department that the list of people the e-mail was sent to -- secretaries, school administrators and clerks -- "did not seem to have rhyme or reason." He said the two or three people who had read the e-mail were asked to keep the information quiet pending investigation.
Within days, the teacher was vindicated.
Champaigne traced the message back to a free AOL account created 40 minutes before the e-mail was received. The Duluth address listed on the account did not exist and the phone number belonged to the accused teacher, according to the complaint.
Digging further back, Champaigne connected the original e-mail to a different Duluth address, where Janzig's fiance lives.
According to the criminal complaint, Janzig gathered the e-mail addresses from the district's Web site. Mitchell said the e-mail was taken seriously, just as a phone message would be.
All evidence of the e-mail has been wiped from district computers and the teacher's file.
Janzig's next court appearance is scheduled for July 30.