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House Lawmaker Files Bill in Response to Champlin Park High Arrest

March 14, 2017 07:02 PM

State lawmakers are responding to an incident last week at Champlin Park High School by calling for more stringent trespassing penalties.

A bill addressing school public safety, including further defining the consequences of school trespassing, was filed at the State Legislature this week.

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The measure is a response to reports of 42-year-old David Manito prearranging a sexual encounter at the school with a 19-year-old Champlin Park student with special needs. Authorities said Manito deceived school security to gain access to the building.

"I was watching the news on Channel 5, and I saw this story about what happened in Champlin Park," said Rep. Keith Franke, R-St. Paul Park, the bill's author. "There was a lot of aspects of it that just made me upset."

Franke's proposed legislation would increase penalties for anyone who trespasses, or attempts to trespass, at a school. Franke said the current penalty for trespassing is a misdemeanor, but he'd like to make it a gross misdemeanor instead.

"I want you to be held over to see a judge, if you are in our schools, and you shouldn't be because we need to keep our kids safe," Franke said.

RELATED: ICE has Suspect in Alleged Champlin Park High Sexual Encounter in Custody

A summary of the bill defines it as being "for an act relating to public safety; including attempt to enter a school to school trespass crime; increasing the penalty for trespassing on school property" and includes an amendment to an existing statute.

The key language increasing the  penalty reads: "(i)t is a gross misdemeanor for a person to use false pretenses to attempt to enter, enter, or be found in a public or nonpublic elementary, middle, or secondary school building unless the person is an enrolled student in, a parent or guardian of an enrolled student in, or an employee of the school or school district."

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office on Friday deferred potentential charges against Manito, citing the complex nature of the case.

An Immigration and Customs Enforcement official said Manito, from Indonesia but staying in New Hope, was detained following his release from Hennepin County jail. The ICE official said he entered the country in 2008 and has overstayed his visa. 

The bill proposal can be viewed in full here.

Credits

Rebecca Omastiak and Josh Rosenthal

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