An elementary school staff member in Plymouth was charged Wednesday with exposing himself to students on a playground when he joined in on Pajama Day last month.
Matthew G. Bowers, 35, of Hopkins, was charged in Hennepin County District Court with two counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct and two counts of indecent exposure. All counts are gross misdemeanors.
Bowers remains jailed in lieu of $6,000 bail ahead of a court appearance Thursday.
Parents of three girls — ages 7, 7 and 8 — attending Gleason Lake Elementary said their children alleged that the paraprofessional exposed himself on March 19 and on two other occasions, according to a search warrant affidavit filed Monday and charges filed Wednesday. School staff notified police the next day.
A letter from Wayzata School District Superintendent Chace Anderson to families said the staffer has been a paraprofessional and after-school program assistant at Gleason Lake since 2006 and he worked during the summer of 2016 at another district school, Greenwood Elementary.
In the most recent alleged incident, according to the court filings:
The three girls were playing with “Mr. B,” as they called Bowers, during an after-school program. He was pushing them in a large swing and “playing a game in which the girls would unzip his pajama bottom, exposing his penis.”
One of the girls told authorities that “it felt to us like he wanted us to unzip it,” and he “didn’t say anything and didn’t stop doing what he was doing; he just kept pushing the swing.”
Bowers said to a human resources staffer that he told the girls “it was not appropriate.” He added that the girls said they were playing a game involving them imagining he was naked.
In an earlier incident, sometime between December 2017 and February 2018, the court filing alleged that Bowers exposed his buttocks to the girls in a library area called the Loft, touched himself and then turned around before pulling up his pants.
There were other times, one of the girls said, when he would expose his underwear to the girls.
Police searched his home and seized the same red pajamas and other clothing he was wearing on the days he allegedly exposed himself.
According to court filings, school staff members acknowledged fielding “a lot of complaints” about Bowers having “underwear issues. … He was told to wear a belt with his pants and perhaps a long shirt to tuck in so his underwear is not exposed.”
Along with being an after-school assistant, Bowers is also employed as a special-education paraprofessional.