Eagan man sentenced for child pornography

   An Eagan man accused of producing child pornography by raping a 2-year-old girl was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison following a plea agreement with federal prosecutors.
  Ellis Tooles, 31, of 4049 Meadowlark Curve, was sentenced to 25 years in prison, 15 years of supervised release, and ordered to pay $5,000 restitution after pleading guilty to one count of production of child pornography, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office. U.S. District Judge Susan Nelson’s sentence was five years less than the prison term requested by prosecutors. Several other charges against Tooles were dropped after he agreed to plead guilty.
  “This defendant is a dangerous predator who ruthlessly sought to harm children,” said U.S. Attorney Greg Brooker. “Although no amount of prison time will erase the horrific crimes that were committed, the sentence handed down today will hopefully provide some sense of justice for the victims and others impacted by this defendant’s evil acts.”
   The child pornography charges against Tooles arose after he was arrested on drug and child endangerment charges in St. Louis County in June 2016. Tooles and a female companion were arrested after police allegedly found them in a room at an Econo Lodge with 91 grams of methamphetamine, five grams of heroin, a large amount of cash and three children.
  While he was in the St. Louis County jail, according to prosecutors, Tooles asked friends to retrieve his cell phone from his Eagan home so he could look up phone numbers and arrange bail.
  “He [Tooles] asked them to retrieve his cell phone, so he could get the phone numbers of his other drug connects to help him post bail,” federal prosecutors wrote in a sentencing memorandum. “While the defendant’s friends and family accessed the phone, they uncovered the horrific video (Count 4) of the defendant with an infant child in diapers along with other sexually-explicit text messages demonstrating the defendant’s clear intent to harm children. Doing the right (but perhaps difficult) thing, they turned the phone over to law enforcement.”
  Prosecutors allege Tooles was sending text messages to a 16-year-old “girlfriend,” seeking access to a child the teenager was babysitting. Investigators believe Tooles waited outside the home where the teenager was babysitting for several hours, until she told him it was not safe for him to enter the home. While waiting, according to court documents, Tooles allegedly sent texts to the teenage babysitter asking her to send photos of the baby unclothed.
Ellis Tooles

Child found unconscious in pool

   Police have released no additional information regarding the investigation of circumstances that led to a 5-year-old boy being taken by ambulance to Regions Hospital Tuesday morning after construction workers found him unconscious in the pool at Fox Ridge Estates apartments on Coachman Road.
   The pool, now covered, is across the street from a massive construction project extending Quarry Road to Coachman and reconstructing Quarry Park. Because of the construction, Quarry Park and its playground are closed.
  The construction workers who rescued the boy were alerted by the screams of his three-year-old sister. Police said the two children had wandered from a nearby apartment. The apartment pool was surrounded by a fence and locked gate. Investigators suspect the 5-year-old climbed over the fence to get to the pool. He was found shortly before 10:30 a.m.
  The children’s mother was apparently home at the time but did not notice the children had left the apartment, according to police. A construction worker performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the child until first responders arrived.
Fox Ridge Estates, the apartment complex where a 5-year-old
was found unconscious in a pool is across the street from a large construction project extending Quarry Road to Coachman and reconstructing Quarry Park.
Who Wants to be Mayor?
   The candidate filing season for the 2018 mayoral and city council elections opened Tuesday, May 22, and will continue until 5 p.m. on June 5. To run for office, a candidate must submit an affidavit of candidacy and a $5 filing fee. The affidavit and fee should be submitted at the first-floor counter at Eagan City Hall.

Eagan man accused of forging stolen checks

Local hotel room vandalized 
   A Red Wing woman is facing criminal charges connected to the trashing of an Eagan hotel room last month.
  Karissa Dow, 24, of 826 Hi Park Ave., Red Wing, has been summonsed to appear in court June 25 on a felony charge of fifth-degree possession of a controlled substance and a misdemeanor charge of fourth-degree criminal damage to property, according to a criminal complaint.
  The charges stem from an April 5 report to Eagan police of a disturbance at a city hotel. Police arrived at the hotel shortly before 6 p.m. to find Dow and a passenger in a car in the hotel parking lot. Dow got out of the car to approach police when they arrived and a witness reported she dropped a glass pipe to the ground near the car door.
  The hotel manager asked police to check Dow’s hotel room, according to court records. Police discovered the room in disarray, with the television broken and holes in the wall. Damage to the room was estimated at $840.
  Police searching the car Dow had been sitting in found a container containing a substance that appeared to be marijuana wax, a condensed, more potent form of the drug.
   An Eagan man is facing a felony charge for allegedly forging four checks believed stolen from local residents’ mail last summer.
  Sean Esslinger, 22, of 779 Mill Run Path, Eagan, was charged with a single count of offering a forged check over $2,500, according to a criminal complaint. The charge resulted from an investigation into the theft of four checks. The checks had all been cashed at the TCF Bank on Denmark Avenue on July 18 and 21, 2017, according to police. The checks were in the amounts of about $574 and $2,850.
  Police questioned Esslinger May 9, according to court records. The suspect allegedly told police he had been “using drugs and stealing checks out of the mail.” Police allege Esslinger signed the stolen checks over to himself and deposited them into his bank account.
  Esslinger is scheduled to appear in Dakota County court on June 11.
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District 196 board offers no apology to mother of
Eagan High School assault victim

   The parent of an Eagan High School student assaulted at school urged the District 196 school board to better address reports of bullying by students.
   The mother told the board her child was physically assaulted at the high school less than 90 minutes after school administrators assured the family the issue had been resolved. Police were involved in two offenses that occurred at the high school, according to the parent, who spoke during a special communication request, a five-minute segment when members of the public are allowed to speak to the school board, if they request permission several days in advance.
   “She’s had two encounters this year alone with the same group of students,” the mother said. After the first encounter, she thought situation was being addressed. After the second, “we were assured by the administrator that the bullying and harassment was going to be handled,” the mother said. The school administration expressed confidence the bullying would stop because the bully had told school staff he would stop.
   “Not even an hour and a half after that meeting,” the mother said, “I got a call from the school liaison that that student who said that they were done had just assaulted my daughter physically.”
   “There seems to be way too many loopholes in the system of zero tolerance,” she said.
   She received applause from the school board meeting audience at the end of her speech, but no comfort, recognition, or apologies from the board itself.
   District 196 school board chair Jackie Magnuson merely told the mother whose daughter had been assaulted “we will get back to you” before quickly moving on to the next agenda item. The school board offered no apologies, solutions or suggestions and did not question the Eagan High School principal, who was present at the meeting to receive a certificate, about the report of violence at the school.
   The plea from the parent of an assault victim was the latest in a series of concerns expressed about safety of students in District 196 schools. Schools do not notify parents of students of reports of violence at the schools, so the full scope of the problem in District 196 schools is not known. Anecdotally, parents have reported assaults and threats of violence against their children from high school to elementary school. Parents have reported taking actions such as transferring to other schools or taking children off the bus after school administrators failed to resolve the issues. At one elementary school, for example, a bus patrol who assaulted a student was not only left in a position of authority over other students, but rewarded with a field trip after the assault. A grandmother recently appeared before the board suggesting armed volunteers patrol outside the schools.
   Other parents have expressed frustration with the lack of communication from teachers and school administrators about such episodes of violence. When questioned about reports of episodes of violence, administrators have refused to answer questions with vague assertions of “data privacy.”