Charges: Teacher, 52, sexually assaulted 4th grade girl in Blaine classroom

A 52-year-old male teacher at an Anoka-Hennepin elementary school is facing charges for allegedly sexually assaulting a female student in the classroom multiple times, the district announced Wednesday.

“Kenneth Sonnenfeld, a fourth grade teacher at Johnsville Elementary in Blaine, is on administrative leave as the result of a complaint made to the district,” Anoka-Hennepin Director of Communications Jim Skelly said.

The school said they immediately reported the complaint to law enforcement who is now investigating. The district will also be conducting an investigation and “action may be taken as a result of those findings,” Skelly said.

According to the criminal complaint, during a forensic interview, the 10-year-old girl said the teacher rubbed her private parts with his fingers on five or six occasions, and would “touch her while she was standing next to him at his desk receiving help on math and science problems.” On one occasion, the child said Sonnenfeld placed his fingers under her shorts.

The student, who was 9 at the time, told authorities that she stopped asking her teacher for help so that he would stop touching her. She decided to talk about what happened so that her “chest and stomach wouldn’t hurt anymore,” the complaint stated.

The incidents allegedly occurred from December 2014 through the spring of 2015.

Sonnenfeld has worked in the Anoka-Hennepin school district since 1992, with no previous discipline. A police report was filed against Sonnenfeld in 1997 for a similar incident, but he was never charged. 

He is facing one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. At a hearing on Thursday morning in Anoka County, his bail was set at $100,000 with conditions: no contact with the alleged victim and no unsupervised contact with minors. The prosecutor had asked for $250,000 bail.