Former Inver Grove Heights lunchroom assistant pleads guilty to sexting with a minor


Krista Muccio

A former Inver Grove Heights School lunchroom assistant pleaded guilty March 8 in Dakota County District Court to sending sexually explicit texts and photos to a minor. 

Krista Ann Muccio, 44, of Inver Grove Heights, pleaded guilty to one count of communication with a minor describing sexual conduct, for sending inappropriate photos of herself and explicit messages to a 15-year-old boy in November 2014. 

According to court documents, on Nov. 29, 2014, Inver Grove Heights police spoke with a man who reported finding inappropriate photos on his son’s iPad. Officers viewed the photos, which depicted a close-up of a woman’s genitals, a picture of a woman naked from the waist up with no face and a third photo with a close-up of the woman’s backside. 

Police found an Instagram profile that belonged to Muccio, which sent the photos to the then 15-year-old boy, court documents said. At the time, Muccio was a lunch para with ISD 199. Police interviewed the boy, who said he’d known Muccio as the Simley lunch lady since about half way through his eighth-grade year. 

In June 2014, Muccio had started communicating with the boy via Instagram, a social media network, at one point sending him a photo of a woman in a swim suit, according to court documents. She then sent him the three previously described photos, indicating they were of her. The boy sent Muccio a picture of his genitals after Muccio stated she wanted something in return. 

According court documents, in an interview with police, Muccio admitted that she had an Instagram account with the screen name that was used to send the boy photos, that she communicated with the boy outside of school on Instagram, had sent him pictures of “stuff online” and “girls in bikinis” and the boy sent her a picture of his genitals over Instagram. 

With a warrant to search Muccio’s Instagram account, officers found direct messages between her and the boy, including a sexually explicit conversation on Nov. 25, 2014, in which the boy asked Muccio to send him a picture. More conversations between the two showed further sexually explicit conversations and photos. 

Police found the same pictures of Muccio on her cellphone that were sent to the boy via Instagram, court documents said.

According to a press release from the Dakota County Attorney’s Office, the case was the subject of a pre-trial appeal, in which Muccio’s attorney argued the law against sending sexually explicit texts and photos to a minor violated Muccio’s First Amendment rights. On March 8, the Minnesota Supreme Court determined the law does not violate the U.S. Constitution.

“This statue was enacted for the important purpose of prohibiting sexually explicit speech directed at a child that is intended to cause sexual arousal. We are pleased to bring Krista Muccio to justice for violating this law,” Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom said in the press release.

Judge Kathryn Messerich ordered a pre-sentencing investigation and set Muccio’s sentencing for April 6. Muccio faces a maximum penalty of three years in jail, a $5,000 fine or both.


 

— Hannah Burlingame

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