A Minnesota youth sports coach is accused of taking two 13-year-old girls he met online to his home and sexually assaulting them before police found them in his basement.
Casey Lee Chinn, 23, is charged with two counts each of kidnapping, third-degree criminal sexual conduct, and solicitation of a child to engage in sexual conduct.
The girls were reported missing from their Andover homes around 9:30 p.m. on September 29, and authorities believed they had run away. After speaking with the girls’ friends, detectives learned they had been communicating with an adult male through social media, according to a probable cause statement.
Investigators from the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office found a chat/text exchange between the girls and what appeared to be an adult male dating back to mid-September. The last text was sent at 8:31 p.m. on September 29, telling the receiver of the message to “be there,” court documents state.
The chats were described by authorities as sexually explicit, with the man allegedly requesting nude photos of the girls despite knowing they were only 13. According to the probable cause statement, the man also referred to his fear of police and jail in the chats.
Investigators said Casey Lee Chinn was determined to be the owner of the phone with the number associated with the texts, and the phone was pinged to his home in Burnsville. When law enforcement went to the residence on the morning of September 30, Chinn allegedly first denied the girls were there and then admitted that they were.
Police searching the home found the girls “huddled behind a couch in the basement, crying and upset,” according to the probable cause statement.
Prosecutors say Chinn met the girls through a website that allows users to anonymously chat with strangers. He allegedly told detectives that he had chatted with them knowing they were 13.
According to prosecutors, Chinn claimed he believed the girls were unhappy at home and had offered to pick them up. He allegedly confirmed that he had driven to Andover the previous night, met the girls at an agreed place, and brought them back to his home, where he told them to stay in the basement because he lived with his parents.
Court documents state Chinn initially denied having any sexual contact with the girls, but he allegedly later admitted to engaging in sexual acts with them.
Chinn had recently served as a youth sports coach for at least two local schools. He began working as a part-time volleyball coach at Cristo Rey Jesuit High School in September. The school placed him on leave following his arrest, according to the Star Tribune.
Chinn’s attorney, Jeff Gray, said Friday, “We deny the allegations and we look forward to receiving our day in court.”
“Casey Chinn is not a predator, he is not a monster as the prosecutor painted him to be,” Gray said.
The media is only hearing one side of the story, according to Gray, and “there’s going to be a much, much different picture that is painted” when all the facts are revealed.
Gray could not discuss the details of the case, citing the ages of the alleged victims, but he told HLN, “The way it’s being portrayed right now, it’s not even close to being accurate.”
Gray said Chinn has worked with kids for many years in high schools and junior high as both a paid and volunteer sports coach, and he believes the youths Chinn coached and their parents would vouch for his character.
Chinn remains in custody at the Anoka County Jail on $500,000 bond. He is scheduled to appear in court for an omnibus hearing on October 30.