Authorities cite hundreds of incidents over two decades.
A 44-year-old youth program volunteer from Ramsey has been charged with sexually abusing four boys age 13 or younger in numerous incidents dating from within the past year to as far back as 1995.
The suspect met one of his alleged victims through his 1989-1993 association with the Big Brothers organization and another while mentoring a boy about aviation, according to documents filed in Anoka County District Court.
Chad Geyen was charged Tuesday with three counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. As the investigation continues, authorities said it’s highly likely they will find more possible victims.
“It’s pretty unusual [for abuse cases] to go undetected after having this much contact with victims over such a long period of time,” Anoka County Sheriff’s Cmdr. Paul Sommer said. “There were hundreds of alleged incidents.”
Geyen was arrested peacefully on Monday at his home and appeared in court Wednesday. Bail was set at $500,000 with conditions that bar him from contact with his accusers or any minors and a requirement that he turn in his passport and pilot’s license. Bail with no conditions was set at $1.5 million.
Earlier this month, investigators interviewed two boys who said they were abused by Geyen within the past 12 months and two men who said they were abused by him as boys. The two boys are brothers, ages 11 and 8, and the two men are cousins, in their mid-20s, according to the criminal complaint. One of the cousins was a ring bearer at Geyen’s wedding many years ago and became his foster child for a time, the complaint said.
County Attorney Tony Palumbo said he expects to see more cases referred to his office against Geyen, citing a pattern of behavior over a lengthy period of time.
“The allegations are certainly shocking,” Palumbo said. “If proven, it would make this a crime which certainly involves a severe punishment.”
Ryan Garry, Geyen’s attorney, said his client is “presumed 100 percent” innocent. Garry said he has yet to look at the evidence in the case or conduct his own investigation.
Geyen’s relatives attended Wednesday’s court appearance in Anoka. “His family supports him,” Garry said. “You can imagine allegations such as these are very difficult to deal with on both sides of the coin, including his family.”
Mentored kids about aviation
The Sheriff’s Office said that, along with his work in Big Brothers from 1989 to 1993, Geyen has recently been part of a group called the Young Eagles through the Blaine airport. That program serves youths interested in aviation.
According to the charges, some of the alleged assaults occurred at Geyen’s home, his cabin and at the airport. One of the men said he was assaulted hundreds of times starting when he was 8 years old and continuing until he was 13. The abuse involved many acts of oral and anal sex, the complaint said.
In a statement issued Wednesday, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Greater Twin Cities said it has “no record that [Geyen] was involved in this organization.” However, organization spokeswoman Maggie Karl said that the absence of a record doesn’t mean he was not a Big Brother and that she was checking further.
The statement added that “our volunteers and staff undergo thorough screening interviews and background checks [and] as part of the orientation and training process, volunteers, mentees and their parents/guardians receive personal safety awareness education.”
Young Eagles flights are sponsored by the Wisconsin-based Experimental Aircraft Association, and there are chapters throughout Minnesota and around the country that match pilots — EAA members and nonmembers — with children ages 8 to 17 for free flights as a way to interest young people in aviation.
Dick McKenney, vice president of the Blaine airport’s EAA chapter, said Wednesday that volunteer pilots are checked to ensure they are fully licensed to fly but are not subject to criminal background checks. Federal Aviation Administration records show that Geyen and his wife own a four-seat Cessna aircraft.