Contract teacher under investigation

The Anoka County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a contract teacher who worked with students in the St. Francis and Spring Lake Park school districts.

Law enforcement began the investigation May 15 after being contacted by Troy Ferguson, interim superintendent of the St. Francis School District.

Ferguson reported some concerning conduct alleged against a contracted teacher who works with hearing impaired students, according to Cmdr. Paul Sommer of the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office.

The teacher’s services were provided through Northeast Metro School District 916, which provides special education and alternative learning services to multiple member school districts.

According to police, the report alleged that the teacher was seen with a young student sitting in his lap.

After  being placed on leave, the St. Francis technology coordinator allegedly found several thousand photographs on the teacher’s computers, which the staff person felt depicted young students who were posed in compromising positions, according to Sommer.

“Forensic computer detectives have located thousands of photos on the suspect teacher’s computer, we believe some of them are criminal in nature,” Sommer said in a release.

The suspect was arrested for interference of privacy, but was later released without being charged in order for a more extensive investigation to take place, Sommer said.

Detectives are in the process of locating and interviewing the children in the photographs and St. Francis and Spring Lake Park school districts are notifying parents by letter or email on Tuesday.

The investigation is ongoing, and no charges have been filed. When the investigation is complete the case will be referred to the Anoka County Attorney’s Office, which will determine whether criminal charges are appropriate.

 It is ABC Newspapers’ policy not to name an accused offender until charges are made.

Mandy Moran Froemming is at editor.anokaunion@ecm-inc.com

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