Ex-coach, middle school AV technician arrested for 40-year-old sexual assault
APPLE VALLEY, Minn.—A convicted sex offender is being investigated in connection with the sexual assault of a student nearly 40 years ago when he worked for Apple Valley schools — and police say there may be more victims.
Charles Alan Schroeder, 68, was arrested by Apple Valley police Dec. 22 after a man came forward and alleged that Schroeder sexually assaulted him in 1979 or 1980. The arrest followed a search of Schroeder's Minneapolis home.
Schroeder was booked into Dakota County jail on suspicion of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and released four days later, pending further investigation, said Apple Valley police Capt. Nick Francis. Schroeder has not been charged.
Francis said several pieces of evidence were found in Schroeder's home that led detectives to believe there may be other victims — possibly as many as six — who have not come forward. The evidence includes a journal with sexually explicit notes next to names.
The statute of limitations has run out on the alleged incident, but Francis said if there are other victims, "that would paint a bigger picture for prosecutors to consider."
This week, Apple Valley police issued a public statement about the investigation and asked the public to contact them with information regarding any incidents involving Schroeder.
PLEADED GUILTY IN 1999
In 1999, Schroeder was arrested by Eagan police on suspicion of sexually assaulting a teenage boy and pleaded guilty to third-degree criminal sexual conduct, Francis said. Schroeder was sentenced to 45 days in jail and 10 years' probation.
Schroeder was first investigated by Apple Valley police in 1991 after similar allegations were made by a student, Francis said.
"In that particular incident, there wasn't enough to bring criminal charges," Francis said. "The information was turned over to the school district."
According to the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan school district, Schroeder was employed as an audio and visual technician at Valley Middle School from August 1972 until October 1993, when he resigned.
Over the years, his co-curricular assignments included yearbook adviser from 1978 to 1991, assistant drama/technical director at Apple Valley High School in 1979 and 1980, boys basketball assistant coach at Valley Middle School in 1985 and 1986, and seventh-grade assistant baseball coach from 1986 to 1988.
REACHED OUT ON FACEBOOK
Apple Valley police began investigating the latest allegations last month when a man said that, as a teenager visiting Schroeder's then-home in Apple Valley, Schroeder pulled down his pants and performed oral sex on him, Francis said.
"This victim never reported it and just moved past it," Francis said.
But in early December, the man received a Facebook message from Schroeder.
"(The alleged victim) didn't remember him until he did some searching and found out who he was," Francis said.
In an interview with investigators, Schroeder denied having sexual contact with the student nearly four decades ago but admitted to having inappropriate sexual relationships with at least three other juvenile males around that time, Francis said.
"He wouldn't give us information on who they were," Francis said.
Schroeder's attorney, Jerry Burg, said his client is "paying for allegations in ancient history." He said Schroeder has served his time for the 1999 allegations, completed sex-offender treatment and has been off the state's sex-offender registry for several years.
"I think that the citizens of Dakota County should be afraid when over-30-year-old allegations can form the basis for a search warrant, then destroy your home and put you in jail for four days when there's no fact that even suggests they could charge him with a crime," Burg said.
The St. Paul Pioneer Press is a media partner with Forum News Service.