Error leads to dismissal of felony charges against former EHS coach

Virgin pleads guilty to misdemeanor ordinance violation

 Eagan High School basketball and soccer coach Kurt Virgin was cleared of all felony theft charges against him due to an error in the case. (File photo)
Eagan High School basketball and soccer coach Kurt Virgin was cleared of all felony theft charges against him due to an error in the case. (File photo)

Former Eagan High School basketball and soccer coach Kurt Virgin has been cleared of all felony charges related to his mismanagement of team finances.

Dakota County District Court Judge Thomas Pugh on Dec. 20 dismissed the six felony theft by swindle charges after statements Virgin made to his employer, the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District, were wrongly used by prosecutors.

Prosecutors admit they mistakenly used information gathered during conversations between Virgin and school district officials.

“Sometimes inadvertent mistakes are made during the course of a criminal investigation, particularly when it involves internal statements being taken by an employer who does not have knowledge of the criminal justice system which are later shared with the police,” County Attorney Jim Backstrom said in a statement.

School district officials gave Virgin a Garrity Warning prior to interviewing him in 2011 about his management of the sport program finances.

A Garrity warning guarantees that self-incriminating statements made during a disciplinary interview will not be used against the person in a criminal case.

“Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding his interview were not given to police and our office until after the prosecution had been initiated,” Backstrom said.

Virgin was charged in May 2012 after a months long investigation.

The 61-year-old Eagan resident was put on leave by the school district in late December 2011, but the criminal complaint reveals there was an internal investigation a month earlier. He retired from the Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan School District on Jan. 9, 2012.

During his time with the school district, Virgin had some discretion in compensation for his services and how participants registered for the events.

District rules allow camps to be run in one of two ways. Camp directors can run the camps separately, in which the director is responsible for fees associated with the camp, or the camp can be hosted by the district, in which the proceeds and expenses are managed solely by the district.

District officials discovered Virgin had chosen to do both, which enabled him to accept checks made payable to him and avoid paying rental fees.

Virgin also oversaw fundraising efforts for Eagan’s boys basketball teams.

Prosecutors alleged that between April 2009 and December 2011, Virigin took $29,184.42 from accounts belonging to several youth sports camps and teams.

He pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor ordinance violation for failing to obtain necessary permits for time at the district’s gyms and was sentenced to one year probation.

Virgin spent several decades with District 191 prior to retiring. In addition to overseeing sports programs at Eagan High School, he coached girls basketball and soccer for eight seasons at Apple Valley High School and established the Eagles soccer program as a power in the mid-1980s.

He started the boys soccer and basketball programs at Eagan High School when it opened in 1990.