BROOKLYN PARK, Minn. - Prosecutors in Hennepin County have deferred charges against a man who was arrested on suspicion of a sexual encounter with an adult student at Champlin Park High School.
The Hennepin County Attorney's Office had received an extension to 4 p.m. on Friday to either file charges against the 42-year-old suspect from New Hope, or release him from jail.
County Attorney Mike Freeman's office issued a statement Friday, saying "because of the complexity of the case, prosecutors deferred the charges in order to allow time for further investigation."
As a result, the suspect was due to be released from jail Friday afternoon.
Brooklyn Park Police officials met with reporters Friday afternoon to share additional details with the public about Wednesday's high profile incidents, which took place inside a bathroom inside the school. Assistant Chief Mark Bruley says the 42-year-old suspect and a 19-year-old male student with special needs had made contact on an unnamed social media app, and pre-arranged the sexual encounter inside the school.
Anoka-Hennepin Public Schools communications specialist Jim Skelly says the suspect entered the school through the front door, then used "deception" to avoid being caught. After initial check-in, the man was directed to a second office for clearance and badging but went directly into the building's general area instead. Once inside police say the suspect went to a bathroom area and engaged in a sex act with the student. The two separated for a short time, then met up again in the same bathroom. At that point a group of students concerned about the special needs boy entered the bathroom, saw what was going on and alerted staff.
Assistant Chief Bruley says the suspect exited the school and was trying to escape, but a group of adults made up of security personnel, teachers and administrators ran him down and tackled him following a short foot chase.
Authorities say the suspect has a Washington drivers license, and apparently moves around the country on a regular basis.
The decision on filing charges will largely depend on whether experts feel the 19-year-old has the mental capacity to consent to a sexual encounter, according to Bruley. If psychologists, law enforcement and prosecutors believe he is not capable or competent to make that decision charges of criminal sexual conduct will likely be filed.
The assistant chief referred to it as "a very complex and unusual case."
If prosecutors feel they would be unable to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt, the Brooklyn Park City Attorney could pursue misdemeanor charges of trespass.