Police said they arrested a man on Saturday after surveillance footage showed him involved in lewd conduct, while juvenile girls were present, when he was teaching acting classes at a St. Paul library.
Officers were called to the Riverview Library on the West Side on Saturday about 5 p.m. A woman told police she had signed her 10-year-old daughter up for an acting and modeling class. It was being taught by a community member who runs a business and who had reserved community space at the library.
The mother was told the classes focused on building confidence, and performance and acting techniques. When she took her daughter to the class at the library at 1 E. George St. on Saturday about 2 p.m., there were four other girls in the class. She saw their parents leave and also headed out.
At about 4 p.m., the woman returned to pick up her daughter. The girl told her she did not want to go back to the class “because the teacher was doing weird stuff,” according to Steve Linders, St. Paul police spokesman. The girl told her mother that the teacher had taken off her shoes and socks, and made her lie on a couch, according to Linders.
The mother went back to the library and, with an employee, reviewed surveillance footage from the room where the class was held. They called police, who also looked at the footage.
The video showed the girl and the instructor apparently alone in the room, which was the library’s auditorium. The man had the girl lie face-down on the couch, and put her feet in his lap. He took off her shoes and socks, and then knelt on the side of the couch by her feet and masturbated, according to Linders. He appeared to smell the girl’s feet.
After some time, the girl sat back up and put her shoes on, Linders said. It was unclear whether the girl saw what was happening, and police are investigating.
“I give the victim a lot of credit for doing exactly what we tell young people to do when something makes them feel uncomfortable — that’s to…