A onetime girls soccer coach for Champlin Park High School has agreed to plead guilty to sexual misconduct involving a 13-year-old boy in his north metro bedroom, with the possibility that the case will later be dismissed.
Rebecca L. Noonan, 33, of Minneapolis, pleaded guilty last week in Anoka County District Court to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with her having intercourse with the boy in his Ramsey home in August or September 2014 while his mother was away.
In submitting her guilty plea, Noonan agreed in filling out a court questionnaire that "I was so drunk or so under the influence of drugs or medicine that I did not know what I was doing at the time of the crime."
Noonan's acknowledgment came in what is called a Norgaard plea, which defendants make when contending that intoxication or amnesia prevents them from recalling what they are alleged to have done.
Her plea deal also allows for what is called a "stay of adjudication," meaning that Noonan's case will be dismissed if she meets all requirements demanded of her after sentencing. Currently, the court has ordered that Noonan undergo a psychosexual evaluation ahead of sentencing in April.
Plea deal or not, Noonan "really wanted to have her day in court," said defense attorney Scott Lewis. "She has always maintained her innocence. ... It's essentially an acquittal without the risk of a trial."
Lewis said he expects the judge to accept the plea deal as proposed by the county attorney's office when sentencing occurs in April. The defense attorney anticipates Noonan will not be sent to jail and will not be on supervised probation.
"There wasn't a lot of proof" behind the allegation of sex between the two, Lewis said.
Assistant County Attorney Blair Buccicone said Monday his office offered Noonan the deal after "lengthy conversations and negotiations" between the two sides.
Buccicone said he felt the plea offer was just in light of Noonan's lack of a previous criminal history, a review of the risk that she would reoffend and having the victim "on board with it."
Noonan is no longer coaching at Champlin Park and had no other duties at the high school or in the district. She joined the Champlin Park soccer program in 2007 as an assistant coach and became head coach in 2012, a district spokesman said.
Along with her coaching duties at Champlin Park, Noonan ran a soccer camp during the summer on the high school grounds.
School officials chose not to renew her contract in July 2015, about the time she was charged, a district spokesman said.
Kirk Anderson, Noonan's attorney, said at the time she was charged with third- and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct that his client came to know the boy because she was a "friend of the family. She's known the boy's mother for a long time."
Noonan climbed in his bed naked and had intercourse with him, the charges read. She told the boy to keep the encounter secret, otherwise she could go to prison for a long time.
The boy told his siblings what happened and asked them not to tell anyone, the complaint continued. The mother told police she recalled leaving Noonan alone with the boy at the family's home.
In high school, Noonan played for Robbinsdale Cooper. She then played soccer while attending Dakota County Technical College in Rosemount, where she studied exercise and sport science.