MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- A fugitive accused of sexually abusing three girls at an Oklahoma church has been arrested at an elementary school in Minnesota, and authorities are trying to determine if he has molested any Minnesota children.
Robert J. McClelland, 38, was arrested Thursday by the Minnesota Fugitive Task Force at Northport Elementary School in Brooklyn Center, a suburb northwest of Minneapolis.
He had been working for about six weeks for Ryder Student Transportation Services as a helper on buses carrying disabled children.
McClelland was carrying a large folding knife and a plastic bag containing rubber gloves, condoms and a lubricating gel when arrested at 3:30 p.m. Thursday as he sat with three children, said Paul McCabe, an FBI agent and task force spokesman. McClelland had to be forcibly taken off the bus.
''We are concerned because of the allegations and the outstanding warrants, there could possibly be some victims here in Minnesota,'' McCabe said.
After the arrest, the mother of a Brooklyn Center special-education student reported recent alleged sexual misconduct by McClelland on the bus, Brooklyn Center Police Capt. Robert Dirks said. She filed the report Friday morning before school officials issued letters informing parents and staff of the arrest the day before.
McClelland, who also uses the names Robert J. Yazzi and Robin Evanston, was charged by warrant in March 1999 in Oklahoma City with three counts of sexual abuse and one count of failure to register as a sex offender. In an Oklahoma affidavit, McClelland is referred to as Yazzi.
According to court papers, McClelland became accepted into the Native American Church of the Nazarene in Oklahoma City, using his skills as a piano player and his knowledge of the Bible to gain confidence, then started to molest children.
He fled Oklahoma shortly after the warrant was issued, the FBI said, and an unlawful flight arrest warrant was issued. Authorities believe he came to St. Cloud in June 1999, working at a restaurant and at a center for American Indians. He is believed to have moved to the Twin Cities in February.
Dan Berg, senior contract manager for the bus company, said Ryder did two background checks, one local and one national, before hiring McClelland. Both came up clean, possibly because he used aliases, Berg said.
Ryder hired McClelland to help students fasten seat belts and with other needs in the morning and afternoon, Berg said.
McClelland was being held in the Hennepin County jail, awaiting extradition to Oklahoma. McCabe said that despite the local investigation, authorities expect to return him to Oklahoma.
The FBI said McClelland also is wanted on warrants for child molestation in Phoenix and Los Angeles.
In Arizona, he was charged in 1998 with fondling three girls ages 5 to 9, Phoenix police Sgt. Carolyn Gardom said.
In California, McClelland also was convicted in 1990 and 1995 of sex crimes involving young girls. The 1995 case involved six girls, ages 5 to 9, who were fondled through their clothes at an American Indian ceremony.
Anyone who has information about allegations of inappropriate contact the suspect may have had with children in Minnesota should call the FBI at (612) 376-3200.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.