FREDERICK, Md. – A sixth-grade teacher was convicted Monday of making false bomb threats targeting five male students in the middle school where she taught.
A prosecutor said he will seek an 18-month jail term for Michelle J. Dohm, 41, when she is sentenced on June 26. The five felony counts carry a combined maximum penalty of 50 years in prison.
Dohm, of Thurmont, was convicted by Frederick County Circuit Judge Julie Stevenson Solt in a bench trial that was part of a plea bargain. Dohm pleaded innocent but agreed to a written statement of facts on which the judge based her verdict. In return, prosecutors dropped seven other felony threat counts and four misdemeanor counts of stalking.
Solt ordered a pre-sentencing investigation that will include a psychiatric examination.
State's Attorney J. Charles Smith declined to comment on the case until after sentencing.
Defense attorney Thomas C. Morrow said Dohm continues to insist upon her innocence. "She just wanted to avoid the pain and anguish of a two-week trial on her family and the community," he said.
Dohm, a married mother, made the threats during a period from September 2005 until April 2006. The threats were in notes found in the boys' lockers, a Thurmont Middle School bathroom and envelopes mailed to two of the victims' homes. Some of the notes began, "Tick Tock Tick Tock. Is it a bomb or is it a clock?"
Dohm is on unpaid leave from her job as a social-studies teacher at Thurmont Middle School. She told The Associated Press in December 2005, after the first round of charges, that the real perpetrator may be someone who was jealous of the attention showered on a local Little League all-star team in the summer of 2005. Four of the victims were members of the team and one of the messages began, "Tick Tock Tick Tock. You play ball just like a rock."
Dohm told the AP in December 2005 that wasn't interested in the team because her own 12-year-old son doesn't play baseball.