A teacher at Washington Technology Magnet School in St. Paul has been charged with criminal sexual conduct after allegedly groping a 14-year-old student in his classroom.

Vam Ntxaij Yajzt, 47, was charged last week with second-degree criminal sexual conduct. He faces up to 25 years in prison, if convicted.

According to the complaint, police were called to the school in the city's North End after receiving a call that a teacher had grabbed a student inappropriately. Officers spoke to a 14-year-old girl who told them that Yajzt, her first-period teacher, wrote her a note asking that she come back to see him second period because he had work for her.

When the girl went to see him, no one else was in the classroom. The teacher allegedly asked the girl about her relationship with her boyfriend. When she told him everything was all right, he allegedly placed his hands on her shoulders. He then hugged her and slid his arms toward her hips, the girl said, before touching and squeezing her buttocks. When she flinched and turned around, the teacher allegedly grabbed the girl's breast, the complaint said.

The girl told police she had looked up to Yajzt and considered him a father figure.

A spokeswoman for the St. Paul Public Schools issued a statement Monday, saying: "Late Friday afternoon, Saint Paul Public Schools learned of the charges filed against Vam Ntxaij Yajzt, a teacher at Washington Technology. The charges follow a May 7 allegation of inappropriate actions involving a student. Administrators contacted the Saint Paul Police Department to investigate. SPPS also contacted the Minnesota Department of Education to report the incident. The employee was immediately placed on administrative leave on May 7. Due to privacy laws and the ongoing police investigation, we are unable to provide additional details about the situation.

"The safety of our students is always a top priority."