Four more preschool girls were added Tuesday to a list of molestation allegations against a Woodbury man entrusted with their safety on South Washington County school buses.
Harvey Theodore Kneifl, 71, is now charged with 10 counts of second-degree criminal sex conduct, after more parents reported their daughters were touched between their legs by a man on their bus.
Kneifl was a bus assistant on a Woodbury route traveled by pre-K children, many of them with special needs, according to the criminal complaints filed in Washington County District Court. The assistant’s job, the complaints say, was to safely help children on and off the bus and to buckle them into their seats.
All 12 girls making the allegations were ages 3 to 5, according to the complaints.
When police interviewed Kneifl on Feb. 8, he admitted that he liked to “tickle, poke and hug children and that he put his hands on the girls’ thighs,” the complaint says.
He denied touching their genital areas but said he made the girls feel good because “they come from a hard life and likely do not get any sort of affection at home.”
Officials in the South Washington County School District placed Kneifl on administrative leave when they learned of the police investigation, the district said in a statement issued earlier this year.
After his initial charges in February, Kneifl was released from the Washington County jail after posting conditional $250,000 bail, including electronic monitoring, prosecutor Tom Wedes said Tuesday.