Foster dad charged with molesting teens, faced similar allegations before
Updated: 2/4/2009 11:02:53 AM
The entire complaint is avalible on this link.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s Office filed criminal sexual conduct charges Tuesday against a Twin Cities school teacher for allegedly sexually abusing his own foster son. He was accused three years ago of a similar crime but was not charged until now.
Pen Dwaine Standifer, 49, is charged with first degree, second degree, and fourth degree criminal sexual conduct.
“They’re horrendous, horrific charges,” says Hennepin County attorney Mike Freeman. “This person perpetrated crimes on kids that simply shouldn’t happen.”
According to the criminal complaint, Standifer smoked marijuana in late December with his 15-year-old foster son at his home in Crystal. The boy says Standifer then performed a sex act on him.
The boy claims Standifer later tried to perform another sex act, but the boy jumped up and fled the room. He then reported the incidents to police, who arrested Standifer Monday night.
Standifer is a special education teacher at North View Junior High School in Brooklyn Park, which is in the Osseo School District. He has worked there since 1994.
Parents learned of the allegations Tuesday through a letter from the school district.
“Wow,” says parent Pam St. Cyr-Davis. “That brings me great worry because I find that if that’s in your personality and you’re amongst children, that’s a great cause for concern for me.”
The school district says it’s taking the allegations seriously and conducting its own investigation.
“I want to emphasize at this time we have no indication that any students currently enrolled in the school were involved in the charges filed,” says district spokeswoman Barbara Olson.
Standifer is on paid leave from the school pending the results of the investigation.
Hennepin County authorities say Standifer got his foster care license nearly seven years ago and has taken care of about 13 children.
In 2006, one of his foster kids made similar allegations, claiming Standifer molested him. But there was no finding of abuse, according to Deborah Huskins, area director of Hennepin County’s human services and public health department. So Standifer continued to take in foster kids.
“We need to investigate those [cases] very thoroughly,” Huskins says. “But if they turn out to be false or not borne out by the investigation, it is also our responsibility under the laws and regulations of Minnesota to allow that person to continue to hold a legal license.”
Huskins says she’s initiating a review of the case to see if anything could’ve been done differently.
Crystal Police re-interviewed the boy who made the allegations three years ago. The boy stands by his story. Standifer is now charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct for that case, in addition to one count for the recent allegation.