Former RPD officer, and coach charged with criminal sexual conduct, soliciting child pornography

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(ABC 6 News) – A former police officer was charged Friday, Jan. 13, with criminal sexual conduct that allegedly took place while off-duty.

The former officer, 22-year-old Timothy Morgenstern, was an employee at Rochester Police Department (RPD) for less than a year.

Morgenstern faces one charge of 3rd-degree criminal sexual conduct–penetration, one charge of 4th-degree criminal sexual conduct–contact, and one charge of use minors in sexual performance/pornographic work.

Morgenstern was allegedly in a position of authority over the victim.

According to court documents, the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a therapist Sept. 27, who said a 16-year-old girl disclosed an inappropriate relationship with a coach at Rochester Public Schools.

The victim had told the therapist her coach was 22 years old and worked as a Rochester police officer.

Rochester Public Schools confirmed that Morgenstern served as a volunteer speech coach from November 2021 to June 2022.

“During his period of volunteer coaching, we received no complaints about Mr. Morgenstern’s conduct,” a statement from Mamisoa Knutson, RPS’ director of communications, read. “By the time Mr. Morgenstern was placed on leave by the Rochester Police Department, he was no longer involved in Rochester Public Schools in any capacity.”

According to court documents, Morgenstern and the minor developed a relationship over text, which he allegedly turned inappropriate after taking steps to stop the minor from saving any of his messages.

Morgenstern allegedly solicited photos and videos from the minor and sent explicit photos and videos to her in the summer of 2022.

In June, he allegedly invited the minor to his home where the pair had sex and he told the minor not to tell anyone about the encounter.

According to court documents, the minor ended the “relationship” shortly afterward.

Law enforcement obtained a search warrant for cell phone data, where they confirmed that Morgenstern had received explicit images of the minor, as well as a search warrant to search for DNA evidence at his home, which was sent to the BCA for testing.

According to court documents, Morgenstern denied any sexual involvement with the teenager.

In a press release, RPD claimed they received a report on September 29, 2022 about off-duty conduct by Morgenstern and immediately took action:

• The initial report was made to the Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) and shared with RPD administration because the alleged crime took place in the City of Rochester. Recognizing a conflict of interest, RPD requested OCSO conduct an independent, complete and thorough investigation.

• RPD placed him on administrative leave before his next shift.

• RPD terminated him on October 6, 2022.

Chief Jim Franklin shares, “The conduct outlined in this case is inconsistent with the core values of our department.”

Morgenstern was hired October 7, 2021. During his brief time with the department he received two letters of appreciation and no discipline.

The Olmsted County Attorney’s Office referred the case to the Fillmore County Attorney’s Office for review.

Fillmore County Court Administration said Friday that although Morgenstern was fired from the Rochester police force in October, his court case was only opened Jan. 11.

Fillmore County attorneys will represent the State of Minnesota to avoid a conflict of interest, court administration added, as Olmsted County attorneys work closely with Rochester law enforcement.

Morgenstern’s first court appearance will take place over Zoom Feb. 15, 2023.