Former Shakopee schools superintendent Rod Thompson appeared July 6 in Scott County District Court on charges of accessing the school district’s Google Drive earlier this year.
The court appearance was short-lived, with Judge Caroline Lennon setting Thompson’s omnibus hearing for 8:30 a.m. on Oct. 3.
Thompson turned himself in the prior week on the four new charges: gross misdemeanor unauthorized computer access, misdemeanor computer damage and two counts of misdemeanor computer theft.
Thompson’s attorney, Peter Wold, said Thompson does not believe he did anything illegal.
Thompson is awaiting trial in November on 21 other criminal charges alleging he embezzled nearly $74,000 over five years from the school district. Wold said Friday they are preparing their case and have every intention of taking it to trial.
According to the latest charging documents, the Shakopee school district discovered an unknown person was accessing files on its Google Drive account in May. Police traced the activity back to Thompson, who allegedly used an email address created in July 2012. Police allege he got into an Academies of Shakopee Master Plan Google Drive in January and in March changed the visibility on the file from “anyone” to “private,” and the link sharing from “can view” to “none,” which affected everyone’s access to the document.
The complaint also alleges Thompson downloaded five files from the drive in April and accessed a file with the Academies placement list in May. That list included private student information, such as names, special education designations, ethnicity, gender and student ID numbers. The information is not public data under state law.
The Shakopee school district released a statement saying it “adheres to all data privacy laws and protocols as required by the government.”
To prevent this from happening again with former employees, the district said it will remind staff of their ethical responsibilities when sharing data and ask them to review sharing settings on the documents and remove anyone who doesn’t legitimately need access.