12/27/2018 3:15:00 PM Criminal charges
The Anoka County Attorney has charged former Chisago County Sheriff Rick L. Duncan, 53, with two felony counts for incidents in which the former sheriff allegedly stalked and threatened violence against a former sheriff’s department staff member and alleging that his actions constituted misconduct of a public officer-- a gross misdemeanor.
Sheriff Duncan retired in May 2018 in the wake of the county’s private investigation of incidents that took place between October 26 and Nov. 3 2017.
The female employee had complained to the county Human Resources official that the sheriff’s actions were harassing and caused her worry, and she subsequently left her job.
She has filed a civil lawsuit with federal court based on employment discrimination.
The Chisago County Board met in closed session December 19 at the end of its regular meeting, two days before the criminal complaint was filed against Duncan by Anoka County. The commissioners’ confidential discussion with legal counsel in closed session, was described as having to do with a settlement hearing in connection with the employment federal case. The Board directed the outside employment attorney, who is representing the county in federal court, to proceed as directed in the closed session, but the action remains undisclosed.
No court date for Duncan was included in the Anoka County Attorney’s Office press release or on the charges filed by-summons.
Duncan is accused of making threats against a county crime analyst in the context of anonymous communications. E mails and letters reportedly ordered the woman staffer to stay the night at a law enforcement conference in Bemidji, with Duncan in the same room. The communications were from “control Freak” and referenced knowing where she lives and that her family may need protecting should she fail to follow directives.
Sheriff Duncan also claimed to be receiving similar threats. He once called the employee into his office and tried to convince her to do as “control freak” directed. Duncan “acted in excess of lawful authority” according to the complaint.
Investigative records show he reserved a room with a king-sized bed at a Bemidji motel for dates in November, but canceled it. He also admitted to the county private investigator to being the originator of the “control freak” text in the alleged eight separate communications.
The County Board has already voted to decline to provide legal support for the former sheriff in the criminal case.