LITTLE VALLEY - Shane Riethmiller, a former middle school science teacher in the Salamanca City Central School District, recently pleaded guilty to two sex charges and agreed to surrender his teaching license in Cattaraugus County Court.
Riethmiller, 40, of Dunkirk was charged with first-degree disseminating indecent material to minors, a class D felony, and third-degree sexual abuse, a class B misdemeanor, to satisfy an impending indictment after a January investigation found that he had sexual contact with a female student. The incident occurred between October and December 2011 in Salamanca when Riethmiller intentionally used a computer to initiate or engage the minor in communication which invited or induced the minor into sexual contact with him.
Riethmiller resigned from the school district in September after initially being placed on paid leave. As a tenured teacher, he was then allowed to return to the district as an employee in the district office where he would not be in contact with students, before he submitted his resignation.
In September, Robert Breidenstein, district superintendent, explained the district's decision to bring Riethmiller back to work, saying tenured teachers in New York state retain rights to their position, pay, retirement and other benefits while they are out on leave.
"Tenured teachers keep these rights when an investigation and formal charges are still pending. Similarly, the school district retains the right to reassign that person if it's something that we can accommodate," Breidenstein said at the time. "We felt that we could do that and still maintain the appropriate level of separation between Riethmiller and the students that may or may not have been impacted by his alleged behavior."
The more serious of the two charges carries a maximum of seven years in prison. Riethmiller is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 22, 2013.