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A Waterloo woman will spend up to five years in prison for having an inappropriate relationship with a student at Independence High School.

On Wednesday, a Buchanan County jury found 38-year-old Kari Schwartz guilty of sexual exploitation by a school employee. She was arrested and charged on July 3, 2020, following the investigation of an incident that allegedly occurred more than a decade ago.

Independence police said they received a report in January 2020 that alleged Schwartz had inappropriate contact with the student in the fall of 2009. According to authorities, the incident involved sexual contact.

At the time of the alleged incident, Schwartz was employed with Independence Community School District as a high school arts teacher. She worked there from August 2005 until October 2009.

According to court records, Schwartz was hired by the Cedar Falls School District in 2010 to teach at Peet Junior High. She continued to teach at Peet while authorities investigated the case.

A pattern, practice or scheme of sexual exploitation by a school employee is a Class D felony under Iowa law. The crime carries a maximum sentence of up to five years imprisonment and a fine between $750 and $7,500.

Schwartz is scheduled to be sentenced on Dec. 21.

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