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Rhinelander teacher accused of mental harm and sexual assault to a childSubmitted: 05/18/2020
Zack White
Zack White
Reporter
zwhite@wjfw.com

Rhinelander teacher accused of mental harm and sexual assault to a child
RHINELANDER - A 38-year-old Rhinelander woman was charged Monday with two counts related to a child-sex crime.

Former Rhinelander middle school teacher, Stephanie Pudlowski, 38, was taken into custody May 15.
Pudlowski is accused of causing mental harm to a child, sexual assault of a child placed in substitute care, and sexual intercourse with a child age 16 or older.

According to the criminal complaint obtained by Newswatch12: 

The child is one who she met while a teacher at James Williams Middle School several years ago, but no sexual contact occurred on district property.

Pudlowski's husband became suspicious of an inappropriate relationship between her and their 16-year-old foster son, after placing surveillance cameras in the common areas of their home and observing inappropriate behavior.



Later on, the police paperwork said, her husband placed an audio recorder in the basement, where the foster child's bedroom is located.

Per the criminal complaint Pudlowski and the child were often alone in that room, with the door closed -- which Pudlowksi says was due to the child being a loud gamer, and not always due to sexual purposes.

The complaint states that recordings did depict some sort of sexual activity between Pudlowski and her foster son, which the complaint states had been going on for the last three to four months, and as often as a couple times a week over the last month.

In an interview with officers, Pudlowski says the child never asked for the sexual contact, and did not answer when asked if the child ever said no.

Pudlowski, an eighth-grade English language arts teacher resigned effective immediately, according to a school district press release issued just before noon Monday.

Pudlowski appeared in Oneida Co. court on May 18, she was released on a $5,000 signature bond and will appear in Oneida Co. court again on June 15. 

Pudlowski's husband also filed for divorce Monday, according to online court records.



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 IN OTHER NEWS
Hodag Lanes Closing Submitted: 08/14/2020

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RHINELANDER - After over 50 years of staying open, Hodag Lanes in Rhinelander has officially closed its doors.

"I mean COVID has hit the bowling business really, really hard no matter where your bowling center is," said Sharon Cline, bowling manager at Hodag Lanes.

And with the construction on Stevens Street, the bowling alley was in a tough situation.

"The construction was also a big play for us because with all the construction out here it was tough for anybody to get through," Cline said.

A lot of memories were created in the bowling alley for various citizens in the city.

"I probably started bowling in the early '80s on the Wednesday night women's league," said Sherri Schilleman, Rhinelander resident. "We had the 9 o'clock slot I believe back then."

For her and many families in Rhinelander, bowling was very popular.

"Bowling is actually a big sport in Rhinelander," said Schilleman. "And I think in the last couple of years bowling was actually starting to make another comeback. So it's sad because people are gonna have to find something else to do."

But Cline is hoping that this won't be the end for Hodag Lanes.

"It is costly to have a bowling center but we're just hoping again that we can get up and running again," said Cline. 

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The city's Fire and Police Commission voted unanimously last week to demote Chief Alfonso Morales.

 Commissioners criticized how Morales handled multiple incidents involving Black people, including the arrest of Milwaukee Bucks player Sterling Brown. 

Speaking Wednesday on WTMJ-AM, Morales said he's retiring because if he returned as a captain it would be at a reduced salary and would negatively impact his pension payments. 

Morales also defended his record as chief. 

His attorney says he and Morales are exploring a range of legal action, including filing a claim for damages.

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