December 28, 2016 11:40 AM
Documents released this week by South St. Paul police reveal a teacher and his husband, who were found dead in Washington in August, allegedly abused eight underage boys.
According to the documents, 40-year-old Aric Babbitt, who was a fourth-grade teacher at Lincoln Center Elementary School, and his husband, 36-year-old Matthew Deyo, allegedly had sexual contact with the underage boys and took photos and videos of them over the course of three years.
The investigation began in August when a 16-year-old boy and his parents reported a sexual assault to police.
The teenager said Babbitt had been his teacher and mentor and was in charge of him while volunteering at Lincoln Center Elementary.
The teenager told police that Babbitt and Deyo said they would take him to a concert in Minneapolis in April and would treat him to a hotel stay. While at the hotel, Babbitt and Deyo provided the boy with alcohol and marijuana, according to the documents. The teenager then told police about a sexual encounter and said he "did not want to do this but felt unsure about how to say no."
A few weeks after that incident, the teenager told police Babbitt and Deyo took him and his friend to Babbitt's family cabin near Brainerd. According to the documents, both teens said they were supplied with alcohol and marijuana and were sexually assaulted during the visit.
Police obtained photos taken at Babbitt's cabin near Brainerd that identified the teenagers as well as Babbitt.
On Aug. 16, a search warrant in reference to criminal sexual conduct and possession of child pornography was obtained for Babbitt and Deyo's South St. Paul residence. Several computers, phones, tablets, cameras and hard drives were confiscated.
Authorities uncovered photos, videos and communications among Babbitt, Deyo and victims identified in connection with the case. Authorities also found marijuana and a hidden camera in a bathroom clock, according to the documents.
The photos and videos obtained by authorities depict sexual encounters and victims showering, according to the documents. Some videos appear to have been taken with a hidden camera, investigators report. Investigators discovered that some of the videos had been taken at Deyo's family's farm near Hastings.
In some of the correspondence between Babbitt and Deyo obtained by authorities, they discuss plans and extending invitations to the victims.
"Should I be expecting a scantily clad 40 yo and (redacted) to give me some hugs and kisses this weekend?" Deyo asks in one message. "I just want to be able to hug and snuggle (redacted) for a couple mins without (redacted) feeling awkward."
According to the documents, Babbitt responded, "You just need to grab him and make (redacted) sit on your lap every once in awhile. Also, if (redacted) all snuggled up on the couch or bed or something you just have to snuggle up next to (redacted)."
Plans to Leave Minnesota
Search warrants of financial records revealed the couple had purchased $860 worth of camping gear from Walmart on Aug. 16, the same day investigators were searching the couple's home. Records also revealed Babbitt had drained his bank account.
On Aug. 25, authorities were notified that a letter from Babbitt and Deyo had been received by Deyo's parents. The note stated that the two planned to end their lives on Lopez Island in Washington state. The letter had been postmarked Aug. 21.
The San Juan County Sheriff's Office was notified, and deputies found Babbitt and Deyo, whose deaths were ruled murder-suicide.
According to the documents, deputies found a note that said the couple was from Minnesota but that they always thought the island was beautiful. Babbitt and Deyo wrote in the note that they knew the search of their home may become public and that they knew some would "paint them as monsters."
The documents report that the letter went on to say "they do not believe that they did any harm, nor did they intend any hurt." The documents state the couple "chose to end their lives 'rather than losing their lives through the courts, loss of employment, loss of freedom and public humiliation.'"
Other victims came forward or were contacted by authorities during and after the investigation. They gave statements to authorities regarding Babbitt and Deyo's actions.
Updated: December 28, 2016 11:40 AM
Created: December 28, 2016 10:45 AM
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