A former Cottage Grove police officer was sentenced Friday to a five-year term for sexually touching seven female students at Park High School and soliciting one teen several times for nude photos.
Adam G. Pelton, 42, of River Falls, Wis., was sentenced in Washington County District Court after pleading guilty in March to three counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct and four counts of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with incidents stretching from Sept. 1, 2018, until Oct. 4, 2019.
Pelton is expected to serve the first three years and four months of his sentence in prison and the balance on supervised release.
A licensed law enforcement officer since 2009, he began working at Park High School during the 2018-19 school year. He previously held the same post at Cottage Grove Middle School starting in January 2017.
The Cottage Grove Police Department fired him in September 2021.
Pelton also served in the Minnesota Army National Guard in Kosovo, Iraq and Croatia, according to South Washington County School District records.
According to the criminal complaint:
After several students reported "inappropriate sexual contact" by Pelton, authorities asked the Apple Valley Police Department to investigate. The students said Pelton had repeatedly initiated hugs from them, then touched their buttocks over their clothing.
Most of these interactions occurred in Pelton's private school office, which had no video surveillance.
Several students also said Pelton would often call or refer to them as "beautiful" and "sweetheart." One said he told her that if he were her age, he would date her.
Pelton denied the inappropriate touching. He also initially denied asking any student for nude pictures before admitting he did "as a joke."