Youth volunteer accused of sexually abusing boys found dead on eve of trial

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The body of a former youth program volunteer has been found at a park on the eve of his trial on charges he sexually abused half a dozen boys over a period of two decades.

The Star Tribune reports Chad M. Geyen is believed to have died by suicide, with the body of the 46-year-old from Ramsey found in Elm Creek Park, southwest of Anoka, on Sunday night.

Anoka County attorney's office told the newspaper a shotgun was found near the body, and the Hennepin County Medical Examiner confirmed that Geyen had died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Jury selection was due to start on Monday for his trial on five counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct, and one count of solicitation of a child to engage in sexual conduct.

Geyen was originally charged by authorities in November 2013, having been accused of abusing boys over a period from the 1990s to 2013, having met the boys while volunteering with the Experimental Aircraft Association's Young Eagle program.

The Pioneer Press notes Geyen's alleged victims were between the ages of 4 and 10 when he was reported to have abused them.

A spokeswoman for Anoka County attorney's office told the Pioneer Press Geyen's death was a "tragedy for the victims and Mr. Geyen's family," but added it's a "relief" his alleged victims have been spared having to testify in court.

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