Former Shakopee Superintendent Rod Thompson, who is accused of embezzling more than $70,000 in public funds, was charged Monday with illegally accessing and altering files on the school district's Google Drive.
Thompson, 53, was charged in Scott County District Court with unauthorized computer access, a gross misdemeanor; misdemeanor computer damage, and two counts of misdemeanor computer theft. He turned himself in to authorities Monday morning and was released after posting $1,000 bail on the condition that he not contact the Shakopee school district.
He is already awaiting trial on 20 felony charges, including six counts of theft by swindle, 13 counts of embezzlement of public funds and one count of possession of stolen property, plus one misdemeanor count of receiving stolen property. His lawyer, Peter Wold, could not be reached for comment Monday.
Over a six-year period, Thompson used several schemes to make hundreds of purchases on the district's dime, authorities alleged.
He resigned as superintendent last summer amid accusations that he had abused his school credit card. Spending reports showed that he purchased sports memorabilia, first-class airfare, concert tickets and an Xbox system.
According to the latest criminal complaint, ISD 720 discovered suspicious activity on its password-protected Google Drive in May during a routine audit. Someone using an unsanctioned e-mail address — firstname.lastname@example.org — was viewing and, in some cases, downloading school files.
A search warrant helped investigators determine that the recovery e-mail address for the account was email@example.com and the associated phone number was also registered to Thompson. He had maintained that e-mail since July 2012.
District employees do not have access to the computer system after termination. Interim Superintendent Gary Anger told police that employees are required to "disclose and assign the rights to the school district for any work product developed or created with district equipment or on district time." Account information and passwords must also be kept on file.
Upon resignation, Thompson was ordered not to access "any Shakopee Public Schools communication systems," including internet and e-mail, according to the charges.
Yet on March 9, documents allege, Thompson accessed the Academies of Shakopee Master Plan on the district's Google Drive, changing the link sharing visibility from "anyone" to "private" so no one else could view the file. It affected everyone's access.
In subsequent months, Thompson viewed and downloaded multiple files from the drive, according to the complaint. In at least one case, he accessed a file including private student information such as names, ethnicity, gender and student ID numbers.
"He's sitting at home accessing school district data [in an attempt to alter files], when we already had originals," said Shakopee Police Chief Jeff Tate. "All he did was hurt himself."
Tate said authorities don't believe these new charges will affect previous investigations of Thompson.
On Monday, the district released a short statement acknowledging Thompson's arrest.
"We appreciate the hard work of the Shakopee Police Department on this matter and thank them for their efforts," Anger said. "We will continue to work alongside the Shakopee PD on behalf of our students, staff and community."