BAGLEY -- A former Bagley High School resource officer, Neil Dolan, admitted in court on Wednesday, June 30, to sexually assaulting students while he was working at the school.
Dolan, 34, pleaded guilty to two felony charges during a plea hearing: first-degree criminal sexual conduct, and second-degree criminal sexual conduct. Another second-degree criminal sexual charge and a third-degree criminal sexual charge were dismissed with a plea agreement.
The hearing was held virtually via Zoom with Dolan appearing from the Minnesota Correctional Facility in St. Cloud. He’s serving two years for another third-degree charge of attempted criminal sexual conduct, which he was charged with in Becker County. Three felony charges of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct were dropped in that plea agreement.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Erin Eldridge is representing the state of Minnesota in the case against Dolan, who is represented by Rebecca Duren of the law firm Kelly and Lemmons.
Dolan admitted to sexually assaulting two ninth-grade students in his office at Bagley High School. He agreed to the factual basis of the charges during Wednesday’s hearing when questioned by Duren. Eldridge followed up with more detailed questions, confirming that Dolan wore a duty belt and firearm while working, among other details.
A sentencing hearing is set for July 12 for Dolan. The maximum penalty for first-degree criminal sexual conduct is 30 years in prison, a $40,000 fine or both. The maximum for a second-degree charge is 25 years in prison, a $30,000 fine or both.
According to two criminal complaints, one filed in November 2019 and another with additional charges in March 2020, Dolan groomed students at Bagley High School and would offer snacks, treats, drinks and other incentives to students while in his office, where he would often lock the doors and cover the windows.
He would communicate with a number of students via Snapchat, including sending photos of his penis. Snapchat is a messaging app where photos and messages only appear for a certain amount of time unless they’re saved or screenshots are taken.
The complaints state that two students, when they were 14 or 15 years old, spanning from 2016 to 2019, were assaulted in Dolan’s office at the school. Both students asked Dolan to stop. Dolan would then ask them not to tell anybody, saying he could get in trouble.
According to other court documents filed during the case, in “about 2011 or 2012,” a school employee walked in on Dolan when a seventh-grade student was straddling him while seated in a chair in his office. Following that, the document alleges, Dolan put paper in his office windows and later moved his office to another part of the school. Dolan remained employed at the school until he was arrested in the fall of 2019.
Court documents also showed that Dolan allegedly had more than a dozen victims between the Bagley School District and when he worked as a Many Point Boy Scout camp program director.
According to court records in the Becker County case, Dolan served as reservation program director at Many Point Scout Camp in Becker County in the summers of 2015, 2016 and 2018. It was a supervisory and leadership role at the Boy Scout camp.
At least once during each of those years, he sexually touched a teenage boy who was 17 in 2015, when Dolan was 27. Dolan at times was very aggressive, getting on top of the boy in bed, pinning him down, and on one occasion attempting to rape him, according to the criminal complaint.