A basketball coach who worked at a Minneapolis charter school and a youth organization sexually assaulted a child athlete in his care, according to charges filed Wednesday in Hennepin County District Court.
Aaron J. Hjermstad, 41, of Brooklyn Center, was charged with one count each of soliciting a child and second-degree criminal sexual conduct.
The alleged victim was a preteen when he was assaulted in October and again in February while spending the night at Hjermstad’s home, the charges say.
The charges note that Hjermstad was a teacher at Mastery School and a basketball coach at Hospitality House Youth Development.
Emily Peterson, executive director of Mastery School, had no comment other than to confirm that Hjermstad was no longer employed there. He had been listed on the website as a physical education and health teacher. The school serves grades K-6.
The executive director and program director of Hospitality House, a north Minneapolis outreach group that focuses on urban youth, could not be reached for comment.
Hjermstad did not return messages left at a number listed for him; he had no attorney listed. He was charged via summons, meaning he is not in custody.
According to the complaint: Brooklyn Center police received a report March 5 that a boy had spent the night a week earlier at Hjermstad’s home and was asked by Hjermstad to perform a sex act in exchange for money. The boy was reportedly sleeping in Hjermstad’s bed while Hjermstad slept on the floor. The boy’s brother slept in another room.
Hjermstad was planning to take the boys to a game the next day, the complaint says.
The boy told an investigator that after he was propositioned by Hjermstad he left to tell his brother, but Hjermstad ordered him to return to the bedroom or face being pulled out of the game the next day, the complaint says. It says the boy’s mother reported that her son had been offered money not to cooperate with police. The charges do not say who made the alleged offer.
The boy also said that he had spent the night at Hjermstad’s home in October and was lying in bed when Hjermstad’s genitals touched his foot. There was a third, undated incident in which the boy awoke to find Hjermstad lying on top of him, the charges say.
The boy told an investigator that the coach made boys shower whenever they were at his house if they wanted to play video games.
“The defendant was previously accused of sexual assault by a player he coached,” the charges say. “That case is being reinvestigated.”