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REGIONAL BRIEFS: Man gets 10 years for sex assaults on children

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North Dakota

Fourth person charged in counterfeit scheme

FARGO -- A fourth person has been charged in a counterfeiting scheme Fargo police said may have sent fake large-denomination bills throughout the region.

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Tody Wilson, 22, of Fargo, was charged in Cass County District Court with one count of felony Class C forgery. Charging documents filed in the case say investigators saw him working with another man, Thomas Paye, to pass a counterfeit $100 bill at a West Fargo Holiday convenience store.

Paye was charged Feb. 25 with felony Class C criminal conspiracy, along with Nyantey Gaylah, 24, and Marcus Yeah, 22, for what police said were their roles in the counterfeiting scheme. Police said Paye, Gaylah and Yeah were washing old $5 bills and printing them with larger denominations to spread them throughout the metro area and possibly the region. An initial court date for Wilson has not been set.

(FF)

Former broker pleads not guilty in fraud case

FARGO -- A former securities broker who faces 16 counts of securities fraud, theft and selling unregistered securities in a Ponzi-type scheme to bilk his clients out of more than $900,000 has pleaded not guilty.

Robert Medhus, 65, of West Fargo, appeared Thursday in Cass County District Court to answer an amended complaint filed against him March 7. The complaint added new charges and 16 new victims to the case against Medhus. Each of the charges is a Class B felony.

Prosecutors accuse Medhus of taking investors' money for his own personal use instead of putting it in securities, then giving them faked or exaggerated account statements printed on letterhead with the name of his company, Associated Financial.

His next court appearance is set for June 5.

(FF)

Minnesota

STDs reach all-time high in Minnesota

DULUTH -- Sexually transmitted diseases have reached historically high levels in Minnesota, a state epidemiologist said Thursday.

In an annual report, the Minnesota Department of Health reported 21,465 cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis in 2012, up from 19,547 in 2011 and 18,009 in 2010. The total number from 2012 is the highest yet reported, the Health Department's Kristin Ehresmann said.

The number of syphilis cases actually declined by 8 percent, the department reported, but chlamydia cases were up 7 percent and gonorrhea cases up 35 percent.

Chlamydia was the most common infectious disease in the state last year, Ehresmann said, and gonorrhea would have been second except for an unusual outbreak of whooping cough.

Ehresmann attributed the decrease in syphilis cases to a "cutting edge and targeted campaign" aimed at men who have sex with men.

"I think the community has embraced that information, and I think it's making a difference," she said.

(DNT)

Wisconsin

Man gets 10 years for sex assaults on children

SUPERIOR, Wis. -- A Superior man who sexually assaulted four children will spend 10 years in prison.

Jonathan Allen Launderville, 27, pleaded no contest in Douglas County Circuit Court in February to three counts of repeated sexual assault of a child, one count of threats to injure or accuse of a crime and one count of fourth-degree sexual assault. Two additional counts of threats to injure or accuse were dismissed.

He was handed a 14-year sentence -- 10 years of confinement and four years of extended supervision. He must serve an additional 15 years of probation concurrent to the 14-year sentence. Launderville was ordered to register as a sex offender and get treatment, provide a DNA sample, pay court costs and have no contact with the victims or their families.

Judge Kelly Thimm decided not to follow a joint recommendation by Douglas County District Attorney Dan Blank and Launderville's attorney, Chris Gramstrup, who recommended 20 years of probation, two years in jail and a number of conditions. The judge instead chose to follow the recommendations of a probation agent that conducted the pre-sentence investigation.

Launderville touched the groin area of four children between the ages of 8 and 12. The victims said Launderville warned them not to tell.

(ST)

South Dakota

Noem says no to expanded checks on gun buyers

MITCHELL, S.D. -- Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., isn't interested in expanding federal background checks for gun buyers.

Background checks would not have stopped recent violent, public gun deaths, she said, and existing laws are not being enforced.

"I believe we've got federal laws right now that aren't being fully enforced. We need to enforce the laws on the books before we pass more," Noem said in a conference call Thursday with reporters. "Over half the states right now do not report their mental health records to the federal database when background checks are currently being run.

"I want to deal with the issues that we have in front of us and to try to protect our families and to keep them safer. The way to do that would be to start enforcing the laws we currently have, not creating new ones."

Noem said she expected that a bill to expand background checks to gun show and Internet sales could be extensively amended, so she couldn't be sure what specific issues the House might have to consider. On Thursday, news outlets reported that some House members planned to introduce a bill similar to the Senate bill announced earlier this week.

(DR)

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