Kids Were on a Field Trip. Sex Offender Was Caught on Bus

Michael Charles Friedrichs has a history of getting on school buses
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 5, 2019 6:58 AM CST
Michael Charles Friedrichs.   (Minnesota Department of Corrections, via KSTP)

(Newser) – Among the last places you'd want to find a high-level sex offender is on a school bus with a bunch of kindergarteners. That's exactly where one was discovered in St. Paul last week, and "horrified" parents are livid. Per the Pioneer Press, police say 61-year-old Michael Charles Friedrichs, a Level 3 sex offender who got out of prison in April, got onto a bus waiting for students on a field trip at the Walker Art Center on Thursday. A St. Paul Public Schools rep says video shows Friedrichs forcing open the bus door before the driver, chaperones, and 26 kids got back on; he wasn't seen until the bus was on its way back to Chelsea Heights Elementary School, when a teacher saw Friedrichs in the back of the vehicle, per Maggie Zimmerman, one of the chaperones. The bus driver called police and wouldn't let Friedrichs off the bus, though he asked more than once, Zimmerman says.

St. Paul Police Department spokesman Steve Linders says Friedrichs insisted he simply got on the wrong bus at the art center. Cops arrested him for registration violation when they found out he had a history going back two decades of boarding school buses (both unoccupied and occupied), including a 2011 incident to which he pleaded guilty for getting on a school bus and masturbating near young children. MPR News reports Friedrichs went to prison after not showing for sex offender treatment after a 2016 conviction for molesting two teen boys; his probation terms prohibit him from getting on school buses. "How many more buses will he try to get on?" Zimmerman asks, adding she's sure he'll reoffend. The school's principal says from now on, bus drivers will have to check out buses front to back before letting kids on. Police say an investigation is ongoing. (A Tennessee bus driver walked free after admitting to raping a teen.)

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