A Minnesota “criminal sexual conduct” or sex crimes investigation of an elementary school janitor has now brought new charges against more school employees: Two principals in the St. Paul Public School (SPPS) system have now been charged with Ramsey County misdemeanors for failure to report suspected sex abuse.
The case began with the janitor, Walter J. Happel, at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus school. First, in 2011, Happel the janitor was accused of exposing his penis to students in the boys bathroom. Although teachers and administrators were aware of the charges, no one bothered to call the police. Second, in 2012, Happel was accused of slapping a child on the butt. Again, teachers and administrators were apparently aware of the sex crimes accusation, but no one thought it was important enough to inform the police. Finally, in February 2014, the janitor was again accused of sexual misconduct or sex crimes in the school. This time a student said that Happel peeked into the stall to watch the student use the bathroom. The student apparently reported this invasion of privacy to his mother, who then got police involved.
Since the St. Paul Police began investigating the janitor’ and other school officials for sex crimes, Happel has now been charged with criminal sexual conduct offenses involving eight different children. In six of these eight Minnesota sex crimes, the alleged victims were children at the elementary school where the janitor worked. In the most serious sex crimes charges, Happel is now apparently charged with felony criminal sexual conduct for an alleged incident from 30 years ago. In that case, Happel supposedly sexually abused. In another case, he is charged with Minnesota felony criminal sexual conduct for abusing a family friend.
This Minnesota sex crime or sex abuse case and these new charged against the principals, who are legally considered “mandatory reporters” of alleged sex abuse, illustrates several things: Minnesota sex crimes laws are very harsh. Penalties can include years in prison and lifetime sex offender registration as sex offender or “predatory offender.” Allegations or even rumors can quickly turn into felony charges. Felony sex charges in Minnesota often result in long prison terms. If you are a mandated reporter of alleged sexual abuse, you can go to jail for failure to report an allegation. This is true regardless of whether you think someone else is going to report the alleged abuse to police, as here. Many many different types of people qualify as “mandated reporters” of alleged Minnesota sex crimes. These include teachers, doctors, coaches, social workers, psychologists, nurses, and yes, school principals. If you or someone you know has been charged with a Minnesota sex crime, you need the best legal help. Having the right attorney can mean saving your job, your family, & your freedom. Call Keller Law Offices now for a free consult. We have the experience and the toughness to prove your innocence or significantly lesson your punishment.