A northern Minnesota school superintendent is accused of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old boy. Superintendent Carl Remmers of the Cass Lake-Bena district was arraigned in Beltrami Court Tuesday, accused of groping the boy in a Bemidji hotel.
The criminal complaint alleges that on July 18, Remmers, 65, took the boy shopping for clothes, then checked into a hotel. The boy told authorities that Remmers grabbed his genitals and told him he wanted to see him naked.
According to the complaint, the two later went to a restaurant, where the boy says he excused himself and ran away.
Bemidji Police Chief Gerald Johnson says investigators were able to confirm that Remmers purchased clothing and rented a hotel room that day. Officers then arranged for the victim to make a call to Remmers.
During the call, Remmers allegedly apologized to the boy for touching him inappropriately. The superintendent was arrested without incident early Monday morning.
Johnson says authorities have not ruled out the possibility that there may be other victims.
"We do not have any concrete information that there are other victims," said Johnson. "We've received a few phone calls that there may be some questionable behavior by the superintendent, but if it didn't happen in the city of Bemidji, we would refer those complaints to whatever local jurisdiction."
Johnson says the alleged victim told investigators of another incident in which Remmers touched him inappropriately while the two were in Remmers' office in Cass Lake. That allegation was referred to Cass County authorities.
Remmers is free on bail. Bemidji defense attorney Don Kirchner says Remmers denies the charges.
"This is a horrible misunderstanding, and Mr. Remmers is completely innocent of these charges," said Kirchner. "He just has an impeccable record in education throughout his adult career. And it's just so unfortunate that at the age of 65, his last year as a superintendent, that he's accused of such a crime."
School district officials say this is the only complaint they've had regarding Remmers since he joined the staff in 2005. Remmers has been placed on paid leave pending the district's own investigation.