Newfolden teacher accused of taking nude photos of student
Justin Adelmann, an English teacher in Newfolden, Minn., and a soldier in the Minnesota National Guard is facing three felony counts for taking and sending pornographic photographs of a 16-year-old student.
The 29-year-old appeared in state district court Tuesday in Warren, Minn., on a charge of using a minor in a sexual performance, carrying a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison; and of possessing such pornography and disseminating it, each charge carrying a maximum penalty of five years.
Adelmann allegedly told the student he was making a modeling portfolio for her and would give her money for the photos. Her mother alerted law enforcement on Monday, according to the Marshall County Sheriff's Office.
The school put Adelmann on paid administrative leave the same day when informed by law enforcement, said Superintendent Scott Vedbraaten on Wednesday.
Adelmann started his first teaching job in August teaching English in grades 8, 9, 10 and 12 at Marshall County Central High School in Newfolden, about 17 miles northwest of Thief River Falls, according to Vedbraaten.
The school district has 406 students in grades K-12.
Adelmann remains in jail in Warren, under a bail of $150,000 surety, or $30,000 cash without conditions or $15,000 cash bond with conditions, according to a deputy.
According to the court complaint filed by the sheriff's office, a woman in Newfolden called on Monday to say her daughter's boyfriend told her that someone had taken nude photos of the daughter.
A deputy went to speak with the mother and her daughter and was shown three e-mails the daughter received from Adelmann's email address. The emails contained 10 photos, about six of which showed the girl "to be nude in such a manner that her genitals or private parts were exposed," according to the court complaint.
The girl said Adelmann told her to come to his apartment in Newfolden and that he "would take pictures of her, make a portfolio for her and give her money for the photos."
After school on Friday, she said, she posed for him in the bedroom and living room, "both naked and with clothes on." She said she felt pressured by him to pose naked.
Adelmann did not give her a portfolio or any money, she said.
He told her "not to tell anyone about these incidents because he believed they both would get in trouble for it," she said.
"She had heard that Adelmann had asked other girls to do the same things, but was not sure if any of them had occurred," the court complaint said.
The girl said Adelmann set up an email account for her on the Model Mayhem website, which touts itself as the "#1 portfolio website for professional models and photographers." He would contact her via that email account.
The mother told the deputy she did see a photo of her daughter on the website under "Jadelmann Photography," but the photos were gone the following day.
As with all new hires, Adelmann was the subject of an extensive background check and he cleared it, Vedbraaten said. There is no indication that any information was missed in the background check, he said.
Vedbraaten said he's not certain if the student involved in the photographs was in class this week.
No school-wide meetings or communications have been made about it, he said. "We have talked to law enforcement and are making sure we do not hinder their investigation."
Adelmann is a specialist with the Minnesota National Guard's 834th Air Support Battalion, Alpha Company, based in St. Paul, according to spokeswoman Lt. Melanie Nelson.
"Civilian authorities are the lead on this one and pending the outcome of that investigation, the military will decide to take action," she said.
Adelmann joined the Guard in September 2006 and worked in motor transport as well as volunteering to do public affairs work, writing articles and taking photographs of soldiers. In June 2008, he deployed to Iraq with his unit for a year, said spokesman Maj. John Donovan.
Adelmann is a 2011 graduate of St. Cloud State University and a 2005 graduate of Bethel University, a private Christian school in St. Paul. His online resume said he student taught in Sartell, Minn., near St. Cloud, last May.