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More Complaints Against Former St. Paul Schools Janitor Accused of Peeping

Updated: 05/20/2014 8:46 PM
Created: 04/01/2014 4:34 PM KSTP.com
By: Leslie Dyste

St. Paul police have received more complaints against a former St. Paul custodian accused of peeping on male students in the bathrooms, making inappropriate comments and removing property from a hidden room at a school where he worked.

Sixty-two-year-old Walter Johann Happel of Newport, Minn., was charged March 20 with one count of surreptitious interference with privacy.

Happel has denied the allegations against him, according to court documents.

Allegations against Happel date back to 2003, and are as recent as February. According to the criminal complaint, at least six students have reported incidents involving Happel over the years.

In the most recent incident, a student at the Linwood Monroe Arts Public School in St. Paul returned from the bathroom Feb. 19 and told his teacher about an incident involving Happel. The student said Happel had peeked underneath the stall and "smiled at him."

School officials contacted Happel's supervisors the same day and he was put on paid administrative leave. He was told not to report to work until further notice, and was forced to turn over his keys and badge, which allowed him access to the building.

Later that day, officials at the school learned Happel had returned to the building. An employee who confronted Happel noticed he was visibly shaken and disoriented. According to the complaint, Happel acknowledged that he wasn't allowed to be at school, and was putting items on a dolly to take them out of the building.

Officials discovered Happel had a room in the building few people knew about, in addition to his office in the boiler room. Officials found an enzyte topical intensifying gel, a packet of Stimulean energy capsules and a bottle of testosterone pills in the room.

After the charges were filed, St. Paul police tell KSTP they have since received more reports involving Happel. Details on the new reports have not been released. They have now opened several investigations.

Happel faces a maximum sentence of two years behind bars and a $5,000 fine. He will enter a plea at his preliminary hearing April 10.


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