12/28/2020 10:28:00 AM Former Chisago County Sheriff sentenced Victim speaks for herself in court
Former Chisago County Sheriff Rick Duncan was sentenced in a virtual court session Tuesday this week and his victim finally had a chance to express the damage that his violation of her trust and abuse of his authority caused.
Anoka County Judge Fountain Lindberg adhered to the plea bargain agreement for the most part, adding 80 hours of community work service to a host of plea conditions to resolve this now-three year old case.
Duncan pleaded guilty to misconduct by a public official and stalking/harrassment of a former sheriff’s department employee. A third charge of threats of violence was dismissed.
The Anoka County Asst. Attorney W.A. Kish said at sentencing that Duncan’s behavior served to add to negativity attributed to law enforcement in these current times. Duncan’s actions “degraded the reputation of law enforcement” said Kish.
Duncan, 55, spends no time in jail for his guilty pleas on the two counts— gross misdemeanors. There is a ban on possessing a firearm for three years attached to the stalking offense. He faces paying restitution of $13,460 to the victim, but Duncan’s lawyer, Frederic Bruno, said he will be contesting this. There will be a restitution hearing set. There is a $900 fine and in total for both pleas.
Duncan is on four years’ probation. If he doesn’t remain law abiding he faces the potential to serve a 365 day jail term currently stayed.
The female victim in this case was a sheriff’s employee in late 2017 when Duncan started sending her harrassing communications. The messages ordered her to follow through on suspect activities, threatened loss of her job and repercussions to her family if she spoke out. The communications were signed by “Control Freak” and Sheriff Duncan was supposedly receiving similar threatening messages.
A private investigation hired by Chisago County revealed the sheriff was “Control Freak.”
Duncan retired soon after this became public.
At sentencing the victim told the judge that in 2017-2018 the atmosphere in the department was “Duncan’s way or get out.”
The job that she had worked so hard for was slipping away because she knew if she reported Duncan’s behavior she could never remain with the county.
“I felt paralyzed,” she stressed in her sentencing statement. Her children were impacted when the family moved away from their home, to avoid tense relations amongst community members. A daughter had her life uprooted in the midst of high school. The victim stated she has worked hard to overcome having her emotions “shredded”. She has been seeing counselors and is diagnosed with PTSD from this loss of trust and psychological manipulation.