A high school basketball coach from northern Minnesota could face decades in prison if he's convicted of charges accusing him of sexually assaulting a player on the team.
Andrew J. Palmer, 33, of Moose Lake, is charged with three counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct for which he is accused of raping a teenage player on the Barnum High School basketball team, for which Palmer was the head coach.
The teenager was interviewed Jan. 19 and said Palmer began communicating with the player during the fall of 2020 via SnapChat, according to a criminal complaint that says Palmer would send the player messages, ask for pictures and talked about his dog.
Palmer allegedly invited the teen to his home on New Year's Day to see his dog and have a fire. While there, the teen told investigators that Palmer never had a fire and that he raped her while watching a movie.
The teen told police that it was "not okay" and that she, according to the complaint, "felt pressure to have sex with [Palmer] because he was her coach and she did not feel like she could say no to him."
Palmer is accused of raping the girl again a week later, and then a third time following a high school basketball game Jan. 16, after which he asked the girl to go with him to his house again. That night, the teen said she told Palmer "no" but he got mad at her.
The child was able to accurately describe the interior of Palmer's home, and two used condoms were found inside the 33-year-old's residence.
Barnum Schools Superintendent Michael McNulty told KBJR that typical background checks were completed prior to hiring Palmer in 2019.