SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

September 29, 2012

Second judge decides to keep nanny locked up

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — PEABODY — The day after a Salem judge found that larcenous nanny Melissa Shaktman’s two weeks in MCI Framingham was enough of a lesson, a Peabody judge decided to keep her locked up at least for a few more weeks.

Shaktman, 24, pleaded with Peabody District Court Judge Richard Mori in a handwritten letter not to keep her in custody, telling him the two weeks she spent at Framingham was a “big eye opener.”

“If I could go back and change what I have done, I would in a second,” Shaktman wrote, referring to the nearly $40,000 worth of jewelry, cash and other valuables she admits stealing from two North Shore families last year.

Those families, one in Manchester-by-the-Sea, the other in Peabody, had hired Shaktman off the website sittercity.com.

On Sept. 6, Shaktman pleaded guilty in both cases, was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution.

But on that very same day, at around 4 p.m., police and probation officials say, she headed to the Liberty Tree Mall and, after asking for a job application at Claire’s, was seen shoplifting items from the women’s accessory boutique.

“I wasn’t in the right frame of mind,” Shaktman wrote prior to her sentencing earlier this month, blaming her actions on medications she takes.

A sentencing memorandum prepared by her now-former lawyers said she had been diagnosed with anxiety and depression after her parents’ divorce a decade ago.

“Because of my panic attacks, anxiety disorder and depressive disorder since the age of 13, I would not survive in prison,” she wrote in the first letter.

Two judges agreed to spare her from serving time.

But now she could be in Framingham for a while. Her probation revocation hearing in Peabody is not scheduled to take place until Oct. 16.

She tried to convince Mori in a second letter on Tuesday that she should be released. “I need to be out in the community finding a job so I can pay (my) restitution in a timely manner,” she wrote. “I know what I’ve done is wrong.”

Keeping her in custody, she told the judge, “is only making my mental health status harder on me and it is prolonging my efforts to find a job. ... I can’t afford to be in jail with all my restitution I have to pay.”

Mori was unpersuaded, going along with the probation department’s request to keep her in custody until the hearing.

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