Man charged with gropings in Hibbing, Grand Rapids
HIBBING -- A 19-year-old Grand Rapids man was charged today with three counts of criminal sexual contact in St. Louis County Court in Hibbing after he allegedly entered the Hibbing High School on Tuesday and grabbed the buttocks of three teenage ...
HIBBING -- A 19-year-old Grand Rapids man was charged today with three counts of criminal sexual contact in St. Louis County Court in Hibbing after he allegedly entered the Hibbing High School on Tuesday and grabbed the buttocks of three teenage girls.
The same man, Anthony Roberto Krall, was also charged in July in Itasca County Court with two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree after he allegedly grabbed the buttocks of two young girls in the electronics department at the Grand Rapids Wal-Mart. During an interview with Grand Rapids police, Krall admitted that "he grabbed the butts of around twelve different girls over the course of the past week," according to the Itasca County criminal complaint.
Krall is being held in St. Louis County Jail on $100,000 bail. The fourth-degree counts are felonies.
According to the St. Louis County criminal complaint, Krall is a student at Hibbing Community College. Krall said he left the college after a morning class Tuesday, gassed up his car, drove to the high school and walked through the front doors.
Once inside, he asked someone where the Spanish classroom was, explaining that he spoke fluent Spanish and wanted to see if he could assist the teacher.
According to Hibbing Police Community Officer Keith Stark, Krall was inside the building from about 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., though he may have left and come back during that time.
Shortly after 2 p.m., school resource officer Kathleen Layne was approached by a 15-year-old student who looked visibly upset. When Layne asked the girl if she was all right, the girl began crying and said, "Some guy just grabbed my butt on the second floor," according to the complaint.
Soon afterward, the high school campus was locked down while multiple Hibbing Police Officers and school staff searched the building, Stark said. No one matching the description of the suspect was located during the half-hour search, Stark said.
After word began spreading of the first girl's experience, two more victims, both 14, came forward to say that a male had also grabbed their buttocks that day.
After reviewing surveillance footage from inside the school, Hibbing police obtained an image of the suspect and sent it to area law enforcement agencies. A reporter from the Hibbing Daily Tribune helped link the Tuesday incidents with those from July in Grand Rapids, and Grand Rapids police met Krall at his home and took him in to custody without incident, Stark said. Hibbing police then met the group and transported Krall to St. Louis County Jail in Hibbing.
The incident is unfortunate, said Hibbing Schools Superintendent Robert Belluzzo, not only because of what the girls went through, but because it threatens the welcoming image the district has worked hard to promote.
"We should be welcoming the community," Belluzzo said on Thursday. "We shouldn't have to be fearful of characters coming here."
Most of the school's doors remain locked during the day, Belluzzo said, though the front door is open.
Belluzzo was planning on using the district's fairly-new instant messaging system to inform all 1,200 students and their parents about the incident. Belluzzo was also thankful for the school's fairly new surveillance cameras.
Krall is scheduled to appear in St. Louis County Court on Sept. 19. He is also scheduled to appear Nov. 12 in Itasca County Court for a pre-trial hearing on the previous charges.
Stark said Krall is a full-time student and also works at a restaurant in Grand Rapids.
When Stark asked Krall why he had touched the girls, "he really could not explain why he had done this; and he knew what he had done to the girls was wrong," according to the complaint.