Authorities have charged an Albert Lea High School counselor and girls basketball coach with sexually assaulting a female student.
Richard J. Polley, 32, was charged Friday in Freeborn County District Court with third-degree criminal sexual conduct after a Jan 8. incident involving a 16-year-old student at his Albert Lea home.
Polley was booked into jail and has since been released on bond. He's due in court on Jan. 27. Court records do not list an attorney for him. Messages were left Monday for Polley seeking a response to the allegations.
Polley, a 2007 graduate of Albert Lea High School, is in his first season as head coach of the girls basketball team.
A statement from District Superintendent Mike Funk on Thursday said that Polley "has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation. Coaching duties have been assumed by an assistant until further notice."
According to the criminal complaint:
The student told police that Polley was her counselor, has known him since the start of the school year and she "would go to his office frequently, and they would talk about random things like how her day was going," the complaint read.
In late December, they started connecting on social media, and Polley soon expressed concern about people finding out about their relationship out of school.
Polley was at a sports bar in Albert Lea on Jan. 8 and speaking with the girl, who was at a friend's home. Polley went home and invited the student over.
The student visited Polley, who then sexually assaulted her. She went back to her friend's home after the encounter.
The student said she saw Polley every day the next week at school, and they did not talk about the assault. She told police that he did ask how her weekend was and whether it was OK.
Before being hired by the Albert Lea School District, Polley was a counselor and assistant football coach at Woodbury High School and a middle school counselor, according to his online biography.