Minn. city pulls police officer, a lawmaker accused of harassment, from policing duties, plans internal inquiry
COTTAGE GROVE, Minn. State Sen. Dan Schoen has been taken off the streets as a Cottage Grove police officer for the foreseeable future amid sexual harassment allegations in his work at the Legislature.
Schoen — who has been a Cottage Grove police officer since 2001 — will be off-duty until Nov. 16, when he’ll be assigned to administrative duties, the city announced Thursday, Nov. 9.
The sexual harassment allegations against Schoen, DFL-St. Paul Park, so far remain centered on his activities as a representative and senator, and not as a police officer.
Records obtained through an open public records request Thursday showed no disciplinary action involving sexual harassment or similar charges during Shoen’s employment as a police officer.
“There’s nothing in his file that says that anything like that has happened while he’s been a police officer,” Mayor Myron Bailey said. “We take everything very seriously.”
City Administrator Charlene Stevens said the city plans to wait for a state investigation before deciding whether to impose disciplinary actions or dismissal. She said the city would pursue an internal affairs investigation after the state’s investigation is completed.
“We would treat him like we would any other officer,” Stevens said.
Schoen’s personnel record with the police department shows three complaints — two of which the department found were unsubstantiated.
He received a four-day suspension without pay in 2005 for actions related to mishandling evidence and property, according to city records. The disciplinary action required further training on warrantless entry into homes and an apology letter from Schoen.
Cottage Grove employees — including all police officers — take sexual harassment training when they are first hired, Stevens said.
In 2016 they also set a policy to hold training every two years, and next year will be conducting training through the League of Minnesota Cities.
“Does the city condone sexual harassment? Absolutely not,” Bailey said.