May 18, 2017 10:13 PM
A Belle Plaine teacher was charged this week in Scott County after two juvenile students said he had acted sexually inappropriately toward them.
Thirty-two-year-old Michael Vernon Reynolds, who had been listed on the Belle Plaine Public Schools website as an online learning coordinator before his name was removed Thursday morning, is facing one count of criminal fifth-degree sexual conduct and one count of child endangerment. Each charge carries up to a year in jail and/or $3,000 in fines.
According to the criminal complaint, Reynolds, who lives in Belle Plaine with his wife, got one of the students drunk on four occasions dating to early April, gave her a bikini wax, fed her a marijuana peanut butter cup, and recently requested she join him on a "secret mission."
Reynolds once tried to serve the second student alcohol, but she dumped it out according to the complaint. Reynolds did not attempt to serve that student alcohol again.
According to the complaint, Reynolds first got the student drunk April 1. She had been downstairs in his home and Reynolds was upstairs when he texted her, "This is a sad last late night of spring break. Cake, gossip girl/new girl, and wax," followed by a wink smiley face. The waxing was apparently a reference to Reynolds overhearing the two students talking about waxing their arms, the complaint states.
Following the text, the student went upstairs, where Reynolds served her three to four drinks. She told authorities she was unable to walk downstairs on her own, and that Reynolds helped her, steering her into a room to avoid being directly underneath the room he shares with his wife, according to the complaint.
She told authorities she felt very uncomfortable as he applied wax to her body while she wore underwear. He later suggested in a text to her that she claim the cat dragged the "wax stuff" from a bathroom garbage can if anybody should find it, calling the student his "night partner in crime."
Reynolds offered her vodka on three or four more occasions, the complaint states.
It also says that on April 9, she found him eating a peanut butter cup and asked for one. Reynolds suggested she should just eat half of one because they contained marijuana and that a whole one would be too strong. She ate half, and he served her Red Bull and vodka, the complaint states. She said she didn't remember much after that, but when she awoke the next morning in the home, Reynolds was standing nearby.
On May 9, Reynolds told the first student via text that he wanted to go on a "secret mission" with her. The complaint says the student said she wouldn't be able to make it.
Reynolds corroborated some elements of the girls' stories, but contested others, saying he didn't serve her the marijuana peanut butter cup, but did tell her they contained marijuana. He said the student asked him to wax her bikini area above the underwear line, according to the complaint.
Belle Plaine police served a search warrant on the home and seized several items, including peanut butter cups located in the freezer.
Jason Lilleskov lives across the street from Reynolds and said he was surprised to see the police show up to the house last week.
"We were just getting ready to head out to breakfast and the police showed up," Lilleskov said. "They were taking pictures of the car and house and next thing you know, they were at the door and said 'Belle Plaine Police, search warrant.' They opened the door and went in. About an hour or so later, they came outside with computers and stuff in a bag."
Lilleskov said Reynolds was a quiet neighbor who he saw only a few times. He knew Reynolds better from encounters at the Belle Plaine Junior-Senior High.
"He taught my son and worked with my son and had no problems with him," Lilleskov said.
The school district's superintendent said via email Reynolds is on paid administrative leave, and directed all questions to Belle Plaine police.
Updated: May 18, 2017 10:13 PM
Created: May 18, 2017 04:56 PM
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