An elementary staff member of Wayzata School District has been charged with a sex crime after allegedly exposed himself to students.
The staff member, identified as 35-year-old Michael Bowers, of Hopkins, was booked into jail April 1 on probable cause criminal sexual conduct in connection to incidents at Gleason Lake Elementary School, located at 310 County Road 101 North in Plymouth.
According to a criminal complaint, the incident happened on the school's "pajama day" on March 19. The complaint says Bowers was pushing three girls, ages 7-8, on a school playground swing when the girls said Bowers wanted them to unzip his pajamas.
Two of the girls were interviewed and one told investigators that Bowers "didn't say anything and didn't stop doing what he was doing, he just kept pushing the swing" with his genitals exposed.
The two students also described a previous incident in the school library before winter break in which they said Bowers had them pull down his pants a little bit, at which point he's then accused of pulling his pants down further and "squatting" in front of them, the complaint says.
Wayzata Public Schools Superintendent Chace Anderson sent a letter to district parents and staff Tuesday night explaining that Bowers was placed on administrative leave after school officials received complaints about him.
The letter states that Bowers has worked as a paraprofessional and Home Base program assistant at Gleason Lake Elementary School since 2006, in addition to serving as a Home Base program assistant at Greenwood Elementary School – also in Plymouth – during the summer of 2016.
"Our top priority is always the safety and well-being of our students," Anderson said in the letter to parents and staff, recommending that anyone with questions reach him by email.
Wayzata Public Schools' "Home Base" programs provide before- and after-school childcare at elementary schools for kids in grades K-5, in addition to full-day childcare on some non-school days during the school year, and full-day childcare for K-5 children during the summer.