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Sawyer superintendent denies accusations of sexual relationship with 15-year-old boy

Charles Soper

MINOT, N.D.—The superintendent of Sawyer Public Schools denied the felony sex charges against him Wednesday before a judge set his bail at $250,000 cash only.

Charles Soper, 50, Minot, who was arrested at the Sawyer High School Tuesday for allegedly having a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy, will be prohibited from having contact with anyone under 18 if he's released from the Ward County Jail.

Soper, appearing in Ward County District Court without an attorney over interactive television, said there's no way he'd be able to afford the bail and he has no criminal record.

"I do deny the charges," Soper said. "I don't believe the bond is fair."

Soper is charged with human trafficking, a Class AA felony, as well as luring a minor by computer and solicitation of a minor, both Class C felonies.

When requesting the $250,000 bail, Ward County State's Attorney Roza Larson said the amount was consistent with other human trafficking cases the county has had.

North Central Judicial District Judge Douglas Mattson also granted Larson's request that Soper be prohibited from having Internet access if he's released from jail, as well as no contact with the victim.

Soper told the judge he had not talked to an attorney yet because the jail would not allow him to use a debit card to purchase a phone card and contact a lawyer.

Prosecutors on Wednesday also filed a misdemeanor charge against Soper for allegedly having marijuana and drug paraphernalia in his living room when police searched his apartment Tuesday afternoon.

A 15-year-old boy told Minot police he met Soper through the smartphone application Grindr in November. He said he had sex with Soper on 11 occasions, usually with a third male. The last encounter was in April.

Soper's next scheduled court appearance is a preliminary hearing on June 11. However, once he hires an attorney he could request a bail review hearing sooner than that.