St. Paul neighbors wary before man sexually assaulted 7-year-old

The man who kidnapped and sexually assaulted a 7-year-old girl in St. Paul Thursday was known to watchful neighbors.

Police records show neighbors called on Mark Meihofer as recently as August to report suspicious behavior around children. Meihofer was arrested Thursday after St. Paul Police found a 7-year-old girl in his room at Catholic Charities. She was naked from the waste up, and her hands were bound by duct tape.

According to court documents, Meihofer told police “he was going to bring her home at nine” and that “God told him to do it.”

A judge has since ruled that Meihofer will undergo a mental health evaluation before his case can go to trial, but some who live in the Ramsey Hill and Cathedral Hill neighborhoods say signs of Meihofer’s alleged predatory tendencies were apparent before his arrest last week.

On Aug. 25, 2015, a woman reported Meihofer’s suspicious behavior to police. A police report says the woman was first alerted to his strange behavior when he tried to open a locked door at the Montessori school she owns. She then witnessed him “on his knees as if he was praying” watching young children at a park.

In 2011, Meihofer was charged in Anoka County with solicitation of a child and prostitution after he approached a 13-year-old girl and offered her $10,000 for sex. He told the responding officer “there was nothing wrong with asking.”

A judge later found that Meihofer wasn’t mentally fit to stand trial, as an evaluation showed signs of schizophrenia and paranoia. He was ordered to be committed for no less than one year. Meihofer was living at Catholic Charities and questioned in his room when police responded to the 2015 report. It was also where they found him with the seven-year-old girl Thursday.

Public meeting Thursday

Fox 9 reached out to Catholic Charities for comment on Meihofer’s past. A spokesperson said they were holding comment until a public meeting Thursday, May 12. The meeting is open to anyone who wants to attend. St. Paul Police will be answering questions.

St. Paul College
Thursday, May 12
6:30 PM