A South St. Paul teacher and his husband who died in a murder-suicide in Washington state were under investigation for possible sex crimes involving a 16-year-old boy.
A kayaker found the bodies of Lincoln Elementary School teacher Aric Babbitt, 40, and his 36-year-old husband Matthew Deyo were found on a beach on Lopez Island, Washington, last Thursday, the San Juan Islander reported.
It later emerged that Babbitt had been put on paid leave from his job a week before his death, and a search warrant application released by Dakota County District Court Wednesday has revealed the reason for this.
A 16-year-old boy reported a sexual assault, saying he had been involved in unprotected sex with both Babbitt – his former teacher – and Deyo, telling police "he did not want to do this, but felt unsure about how to say no."
The investigator applying for the warrant says Babbitt had agreed to mentor the boy when he came out as gay to his family, but then proceeded to give him gifts of underwear and small yoga shorts, and asked for photos of him from before he was 16.
Their alleged sexual encounter happened at a hotel in Minneapolis in April, shortly after the boy had turned 16.
The warrant says they planned on taking him to a jazz concert, but rather than go to the concert, the pair plied the boy with alcohol, before Deyo – who was training to become a chiropractor – offered him a massage.
The warrant also states:
- After the hotel incident, Deyo and Babbitt asked the boy to follow them on the blogging site Tumblr, where they posted nude photos and masturbation videos for him to watch, and gave him a password for their pornography subscription.
- The boy went to a cabin with Deyo, Babbitt and one of his friends, where again he was given alcohol and blacked out, waking up to find Babbitt touching him.
- His friend also reported being touched inappropriately by both men, and said they suspected something had happened to the 16-year-old but didn't report it because they were mentors to them, and had been their friend.
- Both the teens smoked marijuana with Babbitt and Deyo out of a pot-smoking apparatus called a "Volcano."
Another male comes forward, hidden camera found
When the 16-year-old broke down and told his parents what had happened, his brother became upset, saying one of his friends had told him about a similar sexual contact that happened with Babbitt and Deyo but kept it secret.
This male came forward and spoke to police, saying Babbitt had been "like a father to him," but he had been touched by both Babbitt and Deyo after they had smoked marijuana with him and gave him alcohol, despite telling them he wasn't gay.
The pair got angry when he refused to smoke more and they went to bed. The next morning though, they brought him a tablet they said he could use for porn.
In a search of Babbitt and Deyo’s South St. Paul home Aug. 16, officers found numerous computers and media devices, as well as a camera hidden in a bathroom clock.
The pair disappear
The Pioneer Press reports Babbitt – who was hired by South St. Paul Schools in 2002 – was last seen with Deyo on the afternoon of Aug. 16 when they told a friend they were going camping and asked to borrow a shotgun to protect themselves from bears.
Babbitt – who taught grades first, second, fifth and sixth, and never had a disciplinary record – is the son of former South St. Paul Schools superintendent Dana Babbitt. He was put on paid leave by the school district after the allegations came to light on Aug. 17, current superintendent Dave Webb told the newspaper.
The South St. Paul Schools District website shows he was due to be a fourth-grade teacher for the upcoming year.
According to the San Juan Islander, local investigators found a suicide note from the pair, saying they had visited the island years ago with their dog "and loved the island." Their deaths were determined to be a murder-suicide.