GUILTY: 12-juror panel finds owner of former daycare failed to report child abuse, neglect

OZAUKEE COUNTY (WITI) -- Charged with failure to report child abuse or neglect -- a misdemeanor charge related to a case involving allegations of sexual assault at a Cedarburg daycare, 39-year-old Trista Ziehr has been found guilty in a jury trial.

A panel of 12 jurors delivered the guilty verdict on Thursday, October 30th.

Trista Ziehr

Ziehr was the owner of the Family Tree Learning Center on Washington Ave. in Cedarburg, which was shut down by the state in April of 2013 following an investigation by Cedarburg police.

At that daycare center, a 12-year-old boy is accused of inappropriately touching a four-year-old child several times. The criminal complaint against Ziehr says the 12-year-old boy gave the younger child "candy to get him to do this."

The criminal complaint indicates the parent of the four-year-old boy told police that she confronted Ziehr about the allegations. The complaint says Ziehr told the parent that "they were taking care of it" and the 12-year-old child was going to therapy. When nothing further was done, the parent went to police.

When questioned by detectives on this matter, Ziehr was told "she was a mandated reporter." Ziehr then apparently said "she did not know she needed to do that."

The 12-year-old child in this case was sent to juvenile detention -- charged with sexual assault.

Other children at the daycare were being interviewed to see if there were any more victims.

Ziehr is the mother of Cody Reetz, who was strangled by his stepfather, Charles Avey, in Germantown in October 2009. Avey was Ziehr's husband at the time of the murder. Prosecutors say Avey strangled Reetz as pay back for Ziehr calling the cops on him. Prosecutors say Avey had previously beat Ziehr.  Avey was sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole.

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