MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A Minnesota State Trooper has been placed on investigative leave after being charged with allegedly sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl multiple times.

Shawn Gerald Barta, 36, of Burnsville faces felony charges of first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under 16 years old in connection to the alleged crimes that took place between April 2018 and July 2019.

Shawn Gerald Barta (credit: Dakota County)

According to the criminal complaint, Burnsville police were contacted on July 7 about an incident involving a sexual assault. The reporting party said his daughter, an unidentified 14-year-old girl, disclosed to her grandmother that she was being sexually abused by Barta.

The victim said Barta had begun abusing her during the spring of 2018 and continued until the most recent incident on July 2, 2019. The complaint says that the 14-year-old girl is cognitively delayed and functions at about a 6th grade level.

Barta was interviewed by police and admitted being alone with the victim when she was “hiding” from her siblings. He denied anything sexual happening between him and the victim, the complaint said.

The Minnesota State Patrol confirmed that Barta is a Minnesota State Trooper and released a statement.

“The alleged conduct outlined in this complaint is extremely disturbing and completely inconsistent with the core values of the Minnesota State Patrol. Mr. Barta has been placed on investigative leave pending the outcome of the criminal process and an internal affairs investigation,” the state patrol said.

If convicted, Barta could face up to 30 years in prison on the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge and up to 25 years on the second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.