Crown College in St. Bonifacius fires coach after he's charged with sex crime

  • Article by: JOY POWELL , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 9, 2014 - 8:53 PM

Man accused of a series of sex acts with a 15-year-old girl was the women’s basketball coach at Crown College.

A private Christian college in St. Bonifacius has fired its head women’s basketball coach upon reading his confession to sexual assault allegations in court papers filed Thursday.

Ryan P. Chmielewski, 30, St. Bonifacius, was charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct, a felony, for three alleged incidents in December.

A complaint filed Thursday in Hennepin County District Court accuses him of a series of sex acts with a 15-year-old in her family’s Shorewood home. Her father called police Dec. 22, saying he believed a 30-year-old man was engaged in an active sexual relationship with his daughter.

According to the complaint:

The two had connected on an Internet dating site, OK­Cupid.com. Chmielewski allegedly went to the girl’s home on three occasions in December where he allegedly touched her breasts and genitals, according to the complaint.

Tuesday, detectives with the South Lake Minnetonka Police Department posed as the girl online to invite Chmielewski to her home. They arrested him when he arrived.

After the sting, police searched Chmielewski’s home as well as nearby Crown College where he worked, according to Police Chief Bryan Litsey.

In a taped statement at the police department, Chmielewski acknowledged that the acts occurred and that they took place in her basement bedroom, the complaint says.

Chmielewski was at first placed on paid administrative leave when arrested, as is standard policy at Crown College.

“Upon the charges that were brought and his admittance of those, we terminated him [Thursday afternoon],” said Scott Moats, provost and vice president of academic affairs.

Chmielewski had been with the 1,300-student college for five years, the past three as head coach. He also coached men’s and women’s cross-country teams in the fall.

“It’s very disappointing,” Moats said. “Certainly we do not condone this kind of behavior. These allegations are very concerning. We’re trying to monitor this as close as we can. We have taken precautionary action to support the women’s basketball program at this time.”

Moats said he hopes to speak with Chmielewski in the future but for now, the college will not allow him to have contact with the basketball team, even though the allegations don’t involve the college.

“We’ve done everything we can to both do some damage control as well as personally reaching out to some team members who may have felt that they were betrayed or somehow let down,” he said.

“It is a very disconcerting situation, and we’re trying to find our way forward from this.”

Chmielewski was being held Thursday evening in the Hennepin County jail in lieu of $100,000 bail, but his attorneys, Marsh Hallberg and Debbie Lang, were attempting to secure his release.

Chmielewski is to make his first court appearance Friday.

 

Joy Powell • 612-673-7750

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