Police say a volunteer coach with the Bloomington Athletic Association has been charged with sexually assaulting a 9-year-old and a 10-year-old girl found with him at a hotel early the morning of April 4.
Randy Lee Ronning, 36, faces first degree criminal sexual conduct charges and is being held at the Hennepin County jail. Police said they were summoned to the Days Inn in Bloomington when a woman reported seeing Ronning sexually assault a girl he was supposedly babysitting. The older girl said she had been molested by Ronning two years before, as well.
Bloomington police chief Jeff Potts called a press conference at police headquarters Tuesday to alert parents to the arrest and to dozens of letters being sent out by the athletic association. Ronning had coached girl's softball and floor hockey.
Potts said that investigators feared the case may widen, because of Ronning's contact with young girls and the multiple victims in the April 4 incident. He also has a previous sex conviction from 1992 for an incident with another girl.
"We are concerned that there may be other victims out there in the community," Potts said. "We are in the process of reaching out to the parents of all the other children he may have coached."
He urged parents to call Bloomington Police if they suspected their child might have had inappropriate contact with Ronning, but to proceed cautiously in asking their children about the matter. "This is a very difficult subject to talk to children about," Potts said.
Potts asked parents with children who might have had inappropriate contact with Ronning to call Bloomington police at 952-563-4924.
School officials in Elk River also said Tuesday that they have a high school coach named Randy Ronning, but that he is not the same coach as the man charged in the Bloomington incident.
TIPS FOR TALKING TO KIDS ABOUT POSSIBLE SEXUAL ABUSE
- Stay calm and neutral when talking to your child.
- Pay close attention to your words and actions. Show interest in what your child says. Do not react with shock, horror or indifference.
- Don't offer names of possible offenders or possible acts of abuse.
- Ask calmly, "Has someone touched you in a way that isn't okay with you?" If your child does not seem to understand, you may need to ask, "Has someone touched your private parts?"
- Listen to the information, but don't ask for all the details.
- Don't videotape or audiotape your conversation with your child.
- Don't repeatedly question your child.
- Allow your child to tell in his/her own way and his/her own time.
- Let your child know that you believe what he/she is telling you.
- Don't ask why your child didn't tell sooner.
- Tell your child that it is not his/her fault and that he/she is not in trouble.
- If you are concerned that your child has possibly been sexually abused, call the police or child protection.
Source: CornerHouse, Interagency Child Abuse Evaluation and Training Center