Mpls middle school teacher Joel Fowler solicited sex from 14-year-old girl, charges say
Joel Fowler, a teacher at Minneapolis's Olson Middle School, faces felony electronic solicitation of a child charges for allegedly soliciting sex from an undercover cop he believed to be a 14-year-old girl.
According to the criminal complaint, on Tuesday, a cop identified as St. Paul Police Sergeant Keller was working on a child sex solicitation sting when he came across an ad in Craigslist's casual encounters section from a man who wrote, "It's graduation season. I'm looking for a soon-to-be or recent high school graduate who wants to play with a just out of college guy."
"I was just at a HS graduation and watching the girls really made me miss high school and the fun those girls are!" the ad continued. "I live in the West Metro. 23 years old. 190lbs. 6'1". I'm DDF and ready to get to know someone younger than me."
The complaint details Sergeant Keller's response:
Sergeant Keller responded to the ad posing as a 14-year-old girl who was with her friends. He asked the poster, "how yung is too yung 4 u?" The poster replied, "How old are you guys? Do you drive?" Sergeant Keller responded, "gonna be 15 in July. don't drive but will leav school and meet u. ur ad said u want to play.....wat do u want 2 do" The poster responded, "Send me a pic. i want to fuck."
Keller sent Fowler an age-regressed photo of a female officer's face, and Fowler, falsely identifying himself as "Blake," replied with "a photo of a male naked from the waist up," the complaint says. The two continued to communicate, and eventually agreed to meet at 1:30 p.m. at Cherokee Park in St. Paul. (The complaint doesn't specify on which day the meeting happened.)
More from the complaint:
[Fowler] then texted, "You said your friends think I'm cute." Sergeant Keller replied, "yess." The poster asked, "Will i fuck all of you or just you" and Sergeant Keller responded, "can u bring protection?" The poster responded, "Yes" and "Where are we fucking." Serge and Keller replied, "we could do it in ur car." The poster indicated he would arrive in a silver Honda Accord.
Sure enough, Fowler pulled into the park driving a silver Honda Accord, and police were there to arrest him. The complaint says he had four condoms on him.
(For more, click to page two.)
In a post-Miranda interview, Fowler told police he's a middle school teacher with a master's degree in education. He said he called in sick the day of the park rendezvous. He acknowledged he drove to the park to meet someone, but denied knowing her age. Asked if the idea was to have sex with them, Fowler replied, "Eventually."
But when he was informed he had really been corresponding with a cop, Fowler admitted knowing the girl was 14. He suggested, however, he would've backed out of a sexual encounter if it turned out she wasn't really older than she said she was.
Fowler told police there are no complaints against him at Olson Middle School and said "he had posted five different ads on Craigslist and reposted them several times since 2012 because he was bored," according to the complaint.
After news of Fowler's arrest broke, Minneapolis Public Schools released this statement:
Minneapolis Public Schools is deeply concerned regarding the arrest of an Olson Middle School employee. The employee has been placed on administrative leave. Police have indicated that the employee's arrest is not linked to any students and did not take place on MPS property. We are working with the school to communicate with families.
To read the criminal complaint for yourself, click to page three.
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