A 53-year-old man charged with performing a sex act in front of children on a Minneapolis school bus on March 17 is also being investigated for a similar incident in Apple Valley.
Michael Charles Friedrichs, a registered sex offender, was charged Thursday with fifth-degree criminal sexual misconduct for the incident in Minneapolis. According to the criminal complaint, Friedrichs pulled a sweatshirt over his head as he boarded the bus at a regular stop.
The bus driver told police he usually picks up a student at that stop "and did not think anything was out of the ordinary."
The bus driver continued on his route and picked up three girls on its way to Seward Montessori School. All the children on the bus were elementary school students. One student later told police that it appeared the man was rocking back and forth in his seat. When the bus stopped at an intersection, the man fled the bus. The bus driver then called 911.
Police distributed information about the case to departments in other cities. An Apple Valley police officer contacted the Minneapolis Police Department and said he was investigating the suspect "for a sex act on a school bus," the complaint said. The detective investigating the alleged incident in Apple Valley was not available for comment Thursday night.
Minneapolis Police Department spokesperson Sgt. William Palmer confirmed that Friedrichs is being investigated for the alleged incident on an Apple Valley school bus.
Authorities matched a DNA sample from the Minneapolis school bus with a DNA sample on file with the state's Bureau of Criminal Apprehension. They arrested Friedrichs on Wednesday. He remains in custody at the Hennepin County Jail.
Friedrichs is classified as a Level 3 Predator and is listed on the Minnesota Department of Corrections site.
The entry states, "Offender has a history of sexual contact with juvenile males (age 15). Contact has included exposure and fondling. Offender also provided alcohol to victims. Offender was known to victims."
Friedrichs is 5-feet-11 and weighs 187 pounds, the entry states.
Minneapolis Public Schools spokesperson Rachel Hicks said she was unaware that the man was being investigated for a similar incident in another city. She said the district acted quickly to ensure the safety of students and notify parents.
The bus driver worked for Minneapolis & Suburban Bus Company, a private bus company, Hicks said. The district asked to have the bus driver removed from all Minneapolis Public Schools routes after the incident.