ISP arrest former Minnesota teacher and basketball coach facing prison for sex crimesPublished at | Updated at
IDAHO FALLS — Idaho State Police arrested a former Minnesota teacher and basketball coach recently convicted for sexually abusing youth athletes.
The arrested unfolded Tuesday when an ISP trooper pulled over a vehicle and discovered the driver, Aaron Hjermstad, 42, had left Minnesota. Prosecutors in Minnesota said Hjermstad pleaded guilty on Nov. 18 to a handful of sex crime charges and was scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 21. While awaiting his sentence out of jail, Hjermstad was supposed to stay in Minnesota.
The trooper who arrested Hjermstad belongs to the Idaho State Police Criminal Interdiction Team, according to an ISP news release. The trooper and others recently attended a training focusing on the efforts to protect children, identify human trafficking victims and investigate child sex crime suspects.
“ISP and all our local partners are very committed to protecting children everywhere from violence and abuse,” ISP Capt. Chris Weadick said. “Knowing how to identify endangered children and threats to children is a very high priority, and some of the investigative techniques taught at this recent training are already in use by troopers patrolling our highways.”
Inside the vehicle, troopers found multiple electronics possibly tied to Hjermstad’s Minnesota charges. ISP reports the electronics will be sent to the ISP Cyber Crimes Unit for forensic analysis.
WCCO in Minneapolis, Minnesota, reported the former teacher and basketball coach initially faced sex crimes in 2020 for assaulting two boys. After re-examining a 2015 case, Hjermstad faced an additional charge for assaulting a middle school-aged child at his home in 2014 and 2015.
Prosecutors said in a previous news release they expected Hjermstad to receive a 12-year prison sentence for his crimes.
ISP booked Hjermstad into the Bonneville County Jail. He made his initial court appearance Wednesday to face extradition.
“ISP and all our local partners are very committed to protecting children everywhere from violence and abuse,” Weadick said. “We can’t know for sure, but with our trooper’s arrest of the fugitive from Minnesota on Tuesday, we may have stopped a criminal suspect before more harm was done.”
Anyone with information or anyone seeking information on child exploitation is urged to contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at missingkids.org, or call their cyber tip hotline at 1-800-THE LOST. Anyone with information on possible cases of child exploitation in Idaho is also urged to contact their local Idaho State Police District office.