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St. Paul school janitor accused of peeping at boy in restroom


A former custodian at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus School in St. Paul is accused of peeking at a boy in a toilet stall last month, the Star Tribune reports.

Police on Thursday charged Walter J. Happel, 62, of Newport, Minnesota, in the Feb. 20 incident, in which Happel reportedly looked both under and over the stall door and smiled at the boy as he used the toilet, KARE 11 reports.

Media reports say Happel is suspected in other incidents dating to 2003.

In one case, Happel reportedly shook his penis in front of a boy in a restroom in 2011, which left the boy feeling scared, Pioneer Press reports. In that case, the principal at the time had told police that an assistant principal spoke to Happel about the incident, and the matter was considered handled.

Charging documents note that Happel was also accused of swatting a boy's buttocks in 2011.

Police documents also say Happel was given a letter of reprimand for continuing to give candy to students at school, even after he had been told not to do that, and he gave a digital camera to a boy at Roosevelt Elementary School in 2003.

Two other students this month have reported other allegations of misconduct by Happel, according to charging documents.

Happel's employment with the district dates to 1984, but he started working around children in 2003 at Roosevelt, according to media reports. He began work at Linwood Monroe, a K-8 public school that puts a focus on learning through the arts, in May 2004. He resigned Feb. 26.

At least one parent has openly questioned the district's handling of Happel, the Pioneer Press notes, but a district spokeswoman said school officials had handled complaints properly. FOX 9 has a copy of the letter sent to parents by Principal Bryan Bass.

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