, Salem, MA

November 19, 2013

Former nanny overdoses, admits probation violation


---- — SALEM — A former nanny convicted of stealing valuables from two North Shore families, including more than $30,000 in jewelry from a Manchester home in 2011, has admitted to violating her probation in the case for the third time.

But this time, Melissa Shaktman, 25, of Salem, nearly died after overdosing on heroin, probation officers and her lawyer told a judge yesterday.

It took two doses of the drug Narcan, which counteracts the effects of opiates on the central nervous system, to revive Shaktman, who was rushed to the hospital from a drug detox program, her probation officer told a judge yesterday.

“Why don’t I just send you to jail?” asked Judge Matthew Machera, after Shaktman admitted that her use of drugs was a violation of her probation.

“I know; my record’s bad,” said Shaktman, who pleaded with the judge not to send her back to MCI Framingham, where she’s already served time for two prior probation violations.

In 2012, Shaktman pleaded guilty in Salem and Peabody district courts to stealing from two families who had hired her off the website Sittercity.

A Manchester woman getting ready for a holiday party in 2011 discovered that several valuable pieces of jewelry were missing. A Peabody family who hired Shaktman after she had been fired by the Manchester family also discovered jewelry and electronics missing from their home.

Instead of jail, she was offered probation, with drug treatment and a condition that she pay restitution to the families. Instead, after leaving court on the afternoon of her plea hearing, she was arrested on a shoplifting charge, her first violation.

She was found in violation a second time after trying to drive away from police who had stopped her boyfriend for moving violations, then screaming at police as they tried to arrest her. A judge sentenced her to six months in jail for that violation.

Yesterday, her probation officer and her attorney agreed not to seek more jail time but instead asked Machera to impose stricter drug treatment conditions.

Thomas Burke, Shaktman’s lawyer, called last month’s overdose “a wake-up call.”

That’s the same language used by her prior attorneys.

Shaktman yesterday told the judge, “I don’t want to go back. I’ve put my family through a lot. I want my life back. I’m really committed to this. I’m an only child. I can’t do that to my parents.”

“I’m going to give you a chance,” Machera told Shaktman. “Hopefully, you’re going to take advantage of it. There are things that could happen to you that are worse than jail.”

Shaktman must continue to make restitution payments in the case.

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