REGIONAL BRIEFS: Spanking costs couple foster licenseA Two Harbors couple’s child foster care license was revoked because the foster mother spanked a foster child in violation of state rules, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Man given 36 years for sex abuse
WILLMAR — Andres Sylvester Rasmussen, 22, of Willmar, was sentenced Wednesday to 36 years in prison, plus a lifetime of conditional release, and a total of $3,000 in fines on three felony charges of first-degree criminal sexual conduct for repeated sexual contact with a young girl.
Before he was sentenced, Rasmussen tearfully asked for mercy and continued to deny that he was the person who sexually assaulted the now 16-year-old girl more than 100 times over a period of about one year.
“You’ve got the wrong guy,” Rasmussen said in Kandiyohi County District Court. “Please have mercy on me and my family. That’s all I ask.”
The judge noted that a jury had convicted Rasmussen, based on compelling testimony by the victim about multiple instances of sexual assault, during the May trial.
Spanking costs couple foster license
TWO HARBORS, Minn. -- A Two Harbors couple’s child foster care license was revoked because the foster mother spanked a foster child in violation of state rules, according to the Minnesota Department of Human Services.
Kirk and Beth Schield were issued a license to care for up to four foster children in their home on Dec. 1, 2010. The revocation was announced in a letter to the Schields dated July 6 and was posted on Tuesday on the department’s website. No criminal charges were filed.
The Schields have the right to repeal the revocation.
Kirk Schield is pastor of Shepherd of the Lake Lutheran Church in Two Harbors. He told the Lake County News-Chronicle Wednesday that they will appeal and hope to have their license restored soon. Schield said he and his wife received the state’s letter on Monday.
School gets Twitter page shut down
WORTHINGTON, Minn. — Worthington schools Administrator John Landgaard has a list of high school students and graduates who played some role in a Twitter account established Monday that was used to spread gossip about Worthington High School classmates.
The page, which appeared on Twitter’s public forum as WHSTrojanGossip, was created early Monday afternoon by an unnamed person or group of people; and with the work of the high school, administration and law enforcement, the site was closed to public viewing by midnight.
Landgaard said this is the first time, to his knowledge, that a deliberate site was established to essentially bully fellow students and, even though school is not in session, he had a duty to see the site removed. Repercussions from the incident are yet uncertain, but Landgaard said formal charges will be pursued. The incident could also lead to civil suits and, if it carries into the school year, potential expulsion for those involved.
By the time the site was suspended to public viewing late Monday night, more than 90 posts had been made about WHS students and graduates, many sexually explicit, derogatory and simply untrue.
Man sentenced for Facebook hack
WOODBURY, Minn. -- A case that prosecutors said is emblematic of the hazards of sharing information online has led to jail time and thousands in fines for a Woodbury man.
A Washington County district court judge on June 22 sentenced Woodbury resident Timothy Noirjean to 150 days in jail, five years on probation and more than $15,000 in fines.
Noirjean, 27, pleaded guilty in March to 13 counts of electronic identity theft. He was accused of posing as a Facebook friend to an Oakdale woman and hacking her information – and information belonging to her friends.
After hacking the women’s information, Noirjean posted photos of several of the women on an adult website.
Orput said that while his office could prosecute Noirjean, it couldn’t legally make the website take down the photos.
“That harm goes on forever,” Washington County Attorney Pete Orput said.
Officials assessing flood damage
THOMPSON, Minn. -- With a federal disaster already declared for public roads and bridges, government officials fanned out Wednesday in northeast Minnesota areas hardest hit by last month’s flood to see firsthand the damage done to private homes and businesses.
It is the first step in declaring a federal “individual assistance’’ declaration that would bring federal grants and loans to help eligible flood victims rebuild.
Officials from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Office of Disaster Assistance were joined by state and local authorities in some of the most heavily damage homes in Carlton and St. Louis counties. They’ll tour Aitkin and Pine counties and the Fond du Lac Reservation on Thursday.
Boy uses mortgage payment for pool admission
FARMINGTON, Minn. -- When Brandon Chartrand, 5, went into his mother’s purse to find some cash for the $4 admission to a pool near his home, what he found was indeed cash – $1,400 in large bills the family had set aside for their mortgage payment.
He put the loose bills into the side pocket of his swim trunks. Andrea Pellicci was at the window when Brandon handed Pellicci four $100 bills.
“I said to him, ‘That’s a lot of money. Where did you get it?’ He told me, ‘My mom gave it to me,’” Pellicci said.
That still didn’t seem right, but when Pellicci and some co-workers tried to tell him it was too much, the boy pulled out another wad of cash from his pocket.
“He had more in his pocket. I was like, ‘Oh my gosh,’” Pellicci said.
Pellicci brought Brandon into the office, and asked if his parents were at the pool. Brandon said yes, his dad was there. Pellicci put the money in a bag, then followed the boy out to meet his dad, Mark Chartrand.
“It kind of feels good to see there are still some good kids out there. Every time we see her, we thank her. She’s special. We really do appreciate her looking out for us,” he said.
Father charged in deaths of 3 sisters
RIVER FALLS, Wis. – Three young sisters are dead and their father, who recently relocated from River Falls to Minot, N.D., has been charged in their deaths.
The victims are Amara Schaffhausen, 11; Sophie Schaffhausen, 8; and Cecilia Lee Schaffhausen, 5.
Their father, Aaron Schaffhausen, 34, was booked into St. Croix County Jail in Hudson, Wis., at 11:30 p.m. Tuesday on three counts of first degree intentional homicide. He allegedly left his three daughters behind in their home Tuesday with the gas fireplace activated on the first floor and the odor of flammable liquid coming from the basement.
Schaffhausen and his wife, Jessica, were divorced earlier this year. He lived in Minot, but had visiting rights.