A foiled ploy to record two female speech team members changing clothes in a central Minnesota middle school classroom has led to felony charges against one of their coaches.
Lucas J. Blonigen, 29, of Melrose, was charged Tuesday in Stearns County District Court with two counts of interfering with the privacy of a minor in connection with trying to capture the girls on cellphone video as they changed in preparation for a team event at Melrose Middle School.
Blonigen has been ordered to appear in court Thursday. A message was left with him Wednesday seeking his response to the allegations.
Blonigen has resigned from the district as a speech coach and middle school interventionist, school officials and his attorney said. District records show he was hired in June 2016.
He also has been a volunteer firefighter with the city for the past four years and is now on an unpaid leave, said City Administrator Michael Brethorst.
“Mr. Blonigen has been very cooperative with law enforcement,” said defense attorney Debbie Lang.
According to the criminal complaint, Blonigen allowed the girls, ages 15 and 16, to change in his classroom ahead of a speech event on April 6. As the teens were about to take off their clothes, they noticed Blonigen’s cellphone propped up against a wall and pointed to where the girls would be undressing. They also saw that the phone was set to record.
The girls turned off the phone and reported what they found to a teacher.
Blonigen admitted to Police Chief Craig Maus that he had tried to capture images of the girls disrobing.