Sex offender who boarded Mpls. school bus investigated for 2004 bus incidentby Elizabeth Dunbar, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — A sex offender charged this week with performing a sex act in front of students on a Minneapolis school bus had been investigated for an incident on a school bus in 2004.
Michael Charles Friedrichs, 53, was investigated after allegedly masturbating on an empty school bus parked at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. Police followed the case, which led to more serious charges of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for incidents involving a 15-year-old boy, said Apple Valley Police Capt. Mike Marben.
Friedrichs was convicted and served a prison sentence and supervised release for fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to the state Department of Corrections. He continues to be listed as a Level 3 Predatory Offender.
Marben said the alleged incident on the school bus in Apple Valley did not lead to misdemeanor trespassing charges because of the felony-level charges that surfaced. According to an incident report, a school bus driver found Friedrichs on the bus parked at the zoo and called police. No students were on the bus at the time.
State law requires school officials to report any "misbehavior causing an immediate and substantial danger to self or surrounding persons or property" to law enforcement and the state commissioner of public safety. Marben said trespassing would not be a reportable offense under the statute.
Minneapolis Public Schools spokesperson Rachel Hicks said school districts do not have a system in place to communicate with each other about these types of incidents. She said the district relies on the police department to notify other agencies. According to the criminal complaint for the Minneapolis incident, the Minneapolis Police Department shared the information with other departments, which prompted the Apple Valley Police Department to contact them.
"We're certainly glad that the individual was apprehended and there was no harm done to Minneapolis public school students," Hicks said.
Friedrichs remained in Hennepin County jail on Friday for the alleged incident in Minneapolis, which was reported March 17.
(MPR reporter Madeleine Baran contributed to this report)