When one thinks of a Minneapolis officer involved in a sex crime, one thinks of the officer as part of the prosecution’s team, building a case against an alleged offender. In this case, a former Minneapolis park police officer was the defendant.
The Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board describes the Minneapolis Park Police Department as law enforcement limited to within the city’s public parks. According to a news report, a retired Minneapolis park police officer was charged with first degree criminal sexual conduct and 15 counts of possession of child pornography.
The alleged victim of sexual molestation was 15 at the time of the initial criminal charges, and the sexual contact reportedly had taken place over a three year period of time. Apparently, the prosecution reached out in search of other sexual molestation victims and more than two dozen additional potential victims were identified.
The potential punishment for one count of first degree sexual assault is a maximum of 30 years in jail. The news story did not mention any prior record, but clearly the former park police officer was facing significant time behind bars if convicted of the charges.
This week, just before a trial was about to begin, the defendant in this case plead guilty to one count of criminal sexual contact and three counts of possession of child pornography. The defense and the prosecution agreed on a sentence length of between 12 and 18 years in prison. Because a plea deal was reached, the alleged victim, now 17-years-old, will not be forced to testify.
When someone is accused of multiple crimes and more than one charge, the defendant can choose to minimize the negative consequences by pleading guilty to lesser charges. The discussions between the defendant and his attorney are, of course, confidential so we will not know what led him to his decision. Sentencing is next week.
Source: KARE-11, “Former Minneapolis officer pleads guilty to lesser sex crime charges,” March 9, 2012