Sandstone Child Care Provider Charged after Admitting to Having Sex with 16-Year-Old

September 01, 2017 10:22 PM

A Sandstone child care provider has been charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct after a 16-year-old known to her told authorities they had had sexual intercourse on several occasions.

According to a criminal complaint, the teen first reported the activity to a child abuse hotline on Aug. 5.


He told authorities he and 45-year-old Michelle Shank had a close friendship and said they regularly talked in person as well as via text message and Snapchat.

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The teen told authorities he and Shank had sex at her house, in her van and in the woods in a nearby state park, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges Shank told the teen, "'If you end up telling someone, I'd end up killing myself because I don't want to go to jail.'"

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When authorities interviewed her at her home, Shank told them the teen had lied to the crisis hotline, and he had instead called on a dare. She denied the teen's claims.

After speaking with the teen's parents, investigators interviewed Shank again. She admitted to authorities she and the teen had sex and confirmed the locations. She told authorities the two had agreed to the acts, and "there was never any force," the complaint states.

The complaint also states Shank told authorities she knew what she was doing was wrong, that she was an adult who should have said no.

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Shortly after the charges were filed, the Minnesota Department of Humans Services issued an immediate suspension order of Shank's license to provide family child care.

The order states the department received a report regarding Shank's family child care, which "alleged serious incidents of abuse and concerns about (her) ability to care for children."

The order also states the Pine County Health and Human Services division, and law enforcement were investigating the claims.

Shank faces up to 15 years and $30,000.


Rebecca Omastiak

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