SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

January 8, 2013

Former nanny jailed on probation violation

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — A former nanny who admitted stealing nearly $40,000 in jewelry and other valuables from two North Shore families last year yesterday admitted to violating her probation for a second time.

Salem District Court Judge Michael Lauranzano faced a dilemma: jail Melissa Shaktman for six months for the probation violation, as well as new charges she also admitted to yesterday, or keep her on the lengthy probation he imposed last year, so that she will have to continue paying restitution.

In the end, Lauranzano did both, sentencing Shaktman, 24, of Salem to six months in her newest case, which stems from a struggle with police last December while they were arresting her boyfriend, as well as a concurrent six months for one of her older cases, and keeping her on probation in the theft cases until September 2015.

Shaktman was charged last year after two families, one in Manchester-by-the-Sea and the other in Peabody, reported to police that after hiring her as a nanny or baby sitter off the website Sittercity, they discovered that thousands of dollars in valuables were missing.

The Manchester woman who had hired Shaktman discovered while dressing for a holiday party that more than $30,000 worth of jewelry was missing from a safe in her home; the Peabody family that hired her after she was fired in Manchester lost around $8,000 in jewelry and electronics, which Shaktman pawned.

She and her lawyer at the time pleaded for mercy, telling a judge that she was receiving treatment for anxiety. She received probation.

On the same day she pleaded guilty to both cases last September, she was caught by police shoplifting at the Liberty Tree Mall, prosecutor Patrick Collins reminded the judge.

During a probation violation hearing last fall, another attorney argued that the nearly two weeks she’d spent at MCI-Framingham awaiting the hearing had been a “wake-up” call. She was placed back on probation.

But weeks later, on Dec. 9, Shaktman was back in trouble, after Danvers police stopped her Toyota because it was seen driving erratically. Her boyfriend, Jamie Norden, 27, was subsequently arrested on charges of driving while under the influence of drugs and illegal possession of the drug Klonopin.

Shaktman was charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest after police noticed her trying to climb into the front seat of her car while officers were arresting Norden. She began screaming at officers and refused to cooperate when they tried to put her in cuffs, according to a police report.

“She just does not get it,” Collins said. “In order for probation to work, you have to have the probationer show some good faith.”

Defense lawyer Meghan Taylor urged the judge to put Shaktman, who has been held since her December arrest, back on probation.

“She is asking the court for one more chance,” said Taylor, who, like her predecessor attorney in the case, called the time in Framingham a “wake-up.”

Taylor explained that Shaktman had recently been prescribed a new medication at the time of the December incident, and that her outburst was out of character.

Shaktman received credit for 41 days she’s spent in custody and will be eligible for parole after she serves a total of 90 days.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.