FARGO – Bail was set at $30,000 for a former middle school teacher accused of sending illicit photos and videos to two boys, and having sex with one of them.

Shannon Moser, 37, of Moorhead, was charged in Cass County District Court with two counts of using a minor in a sexual performance, Class A felonies, and one count of sexual assault, a Class C felony.

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Moser made her first court appearance Tuesday, July 24, by video conferencing. Prosecutors recommended bail of $250,000 plus conditions, such as having no contact with juveniles, staying off social media and submitting to a GPS tracker.

 

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    However, her attorney Scott Brand requested bail be set at $30,000, arguing that Moser has no prior record and that she is deeply connected to the Fargo-Moorhead community.

    Brand said Moser was recently in Montana visiting, and she was aware that charges were pending against her, yet she returned to North Dakota. “She could have fled then,” Brand said.

    Judge Douglas Herman agreed Moser was not a likely flight risk and allowed bail to be set at $30,000, with the condition that she have no contact with the two victims and stay off of social media. She will be allowed to travel to Minnesota, because she is a Moorhead resident and Montana, where her family lives.

    “Despite the seriousness of these charges, I don’t see this individual as a high flight risk,” Herman said. “That is our primary concern under our bail law.”

    Moser had been a science teacher at Liberty Middle School since fall 2016. She resigned July 12.

    According to a police report filed in district court:

    West Fargo police received an anonymous tip in June that Moser was having sex with a male student in Rendezvous Park in West Fargo and giving him electronic tobacco products.

    More anonymous complaints came in alleging that Moser had shared nude Snapchat photos with a 16-year-old West Fargo student.

    Police interviewed the student on July 3, and the student denied an inappropriate relationship with Moser. But police interviewed the student’s friend who claimed the student had talked about having sex with Moser in the park.

    Police re-interviewed the student, who had told his mother that he had sex with Moser. The student told police he had known Moser personally for about two years, as she was considered a family friend. They had added each other on Snapchat in May or early June, and she began sending him sexually explicit photos and messages.

    After about three days, the student said Moser asked to meet, and the two met at Rendezvous Park sometime in early June during the evening. The boy got in her van, and they drove west of West Fargo, where she pulled over on a gravel road and the two had sex.

    At that time, Moser told the student, “no one can know,” according to the report.

    The student said Moser shared more photos following the encounter and asked at least once more if he wanted to have sex, but he declined.

    On July 11, Moser agreed to speak with investigators at the Moorhead Police Department after officers picked her up from her home. Moser was reluctant to talk at first, but eventually asked to speak to an attorney. Police seized her cellphone during the interview and later found URLs for porn sites that included younger boys engaging in sex with older women.

    West Fargo police said a second victim, a 15-year-old boy, told officers on July 16 that he and Moser had been sharing sexually explicit photos through Snapchat for about a year, starting when he was 14 years old.

    The second boy told police he never had any physical contact with Moser, but said she had asked to meet him in person. He said he received videos of Moser and her husband having sex, according to the report.

    Police informed the West Fargo Public School District about the ongoing investigation on July 12, and Moser submitted her resignation later that day.

    An improvement plan was placed in Moser’s teaching file during the 2017-18 school year regarding her classroom conduct after staff and students reported inappropriate conduct. Staff noticed Moser’s interactions with male students and questioned whether she was crossing student-teacher relationship boundaries.

    According to school district documents dated April 26, Moser had met the expectations of her improvement plan and her contract was recommended for renewal.

    “Concerns brought forward by students and parents about Mrs. Moser were addressed in accordance with North Dakota Century Code, district policy, and were reviewed by district legal counsel,” Konshak said in a statement.

    Moser’s next court appearance is a preliminary hearing set for Aug. 23.

     

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