9/21/2017 2:58:00 PM Lawler pleads guilty to two counts of criminal sexual conduct in Chisago City in 2016 case
A 54-year-old Forest Lake resident entered a guilty plea in court in Center City this week, admitting to two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with two 13 year-old-girls. Finalizing the plea bargain lets county prosecutors avoid trial and calling two young victims to testify. The agreement also took a life sentence off the table. The plea agreement is for 400 months total for both counts; which means release could be granted after 25 years under guidelines.
The molestation happened in April 2016 while the perpetrator Peter, (aka Pedro) Antonio Lawler was renting a two-room suite at GrandStay in Chisago City. The victims were under his supervision at the time of the offenses; so he met one of the legal standards of his charges, requiring he be in a position of authority. Lakes Area Police arrested Lawler in July 2016.
Lawler told the court he and his girlfriend and her daughter, who he refered to himself a “stepdad” to, were staying in Chisago City until their rental place in Forest Lake could be occupied. The three had recently moved back to Minnesota after living briefly in Florida.
Lawler met the mother of one of the female victims a few years earlier when he advertised seeking a personal care attendant, he told the judge. One criminal count references multiple acts with this victim. The second female victim befriended the first girl at the hotel pool during a weekend trip, and she returned for a sleep-over shortly thereafter where the second count offense took place.
Lawler’s plea agreement eliminates the need for a judge trial scheduled for October 2. Judge Dowdal asked for a psych evaluation and presentence investigation and will impose sentencing December 4.
When Lawler described the crimes in court he explained that at the out-set of one of the incidents he was having a conversation with one of the girls about sexual intercourse, which escalated into physical acts. The judge asked Lawler “You believe you are guilty?” Lawler responded “Yes I do.”