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More sex charges filed in case against former N.D. superintendent

Charles Soper

MINOT, N.D. – The former Sawyer school superintendent awaiting trial for human trafficking and other sex charges now faces allegations from two more teenage victims.

Charles William Soper, 51, is now charged with gross sexual imposition, a Class AA felony, promoting an obscene performance by a minor, a Class A felony, and indecent exposure, a Class A misdemeanor.

Court records filed in Ward County District Court say:

A teenage boy who met with Minot police earlier this month said he first encountered Soper in the winter of 2014 while bowling with friends in Minot.

The boy said he went to the bathroom and an adult male who had been watching him followed him. The boy, who was 14 at the time, said the man had sex with him and threatened to harm the teen and his family if he told anyone.

The teen told police he had two or three more sexual encounters with the man at the man’s apartment. The teen said the man often held him onto the bed by his neck during the sex acts, court records say.

The boy identified Soper as the man from the encounters from a photo lineup.

The teen said he told Soper he was 18, but he believes Soper knew he was younger.

During their investigation of Soper, police discovered photos and videos of Soper performing sex acts with different males, some who appear to be under 18, court records say.

Police identified the 14-year-old as one of the males in the videos.

In addition, Minot police interviewed a friend of the 14-year-old who said he made contact with Soper on Grindr, a gay dating smartphone app.

The friend, who was also 14 at the time, told police he went over to Soper’s apartment with the intention of asking him to leave the other teen alone. Soper is accused of masturbating in front of the teen.

Soper has pleaded not guilty to the earlier charges, which stem from allegations that he had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old boy.

In that case, a Minot police investigator has testified that Soper met the teen on Grindr and met him 11 times between last November and April for sex, usually at Soper’s Minot apartment. The sexual encounters often included another man, police have said.

The teen’s parents discovered cellphone conversations with Soper in May and reported it to police.

For those allegations, Soper is charged with human trafficking, a Class AA felony, as well as luring minors by computer and corruption or solicitation of minors, both Class C felonies.

In a court hearing in June, defense attorney Eric Baumann pointed out during his questioning that there is no physical evidence or witness testimony that can corroborate the 15-year-old’s allegations or that Soper knew he was underage. Baumann also has challenged whether the allegations meet the definition of human trafficking.

Baumann did not return a call seeking comment on Thursday.

In addition, Soper faces a C felony charge related to possessing child pornography and a B misdemeanor charge of possessing drug paraphernalia.

Soper resigned as superintendent after he was arrested in May.

Minot Police Capt. John Klug said the investigation into Soper is still ongoing.

A preliminary hearing on the new charges is set for Nov. 30.

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