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January 27, 2023

12/2/2022 1:37:00 PM
Former Chisago County officeholder makes first court appearance

A former elected county official made his initial appearance in the Center City court of Judge Seabrooks Monday, by computer. Former Sheriff, Rick Duncan, 57, of Wyoming is charged with five counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third and fourth degrees.

His prosecution is being handled by Crow Wing County attorney Kelsey Hopps to avoid any conflict of interest.  Duncan is defended by attorney Chris Wachtler.
The former sheriff’s criminal sexual conduct charges are in connection  with incidents alleged to have taken place in 2017, while Duncan was serving as county sheriff.  

The prosecuting attorney told Judge Jesse Seabrooks the victim, identified only by her initials, is fearful of Duncan and requested $100,000 bail be set. Elements of coercion and force are supportive of the charges.  Bail ended up at $50,000.

Duncan resigned/retired in 2018 after Chisago County announced an investigation had been completed by a private investigator into another set of allegations, involving a Chisago County crime analyst.   This case was prosecuted through Anoka County resulting in a conviction, with zero jail time and probation for the ex-sheriff.  A lawsuit by the female sheriff’s staff member victim was successful in winning a civil monetary award, who immediately left county employment.  Sheriff Duncan was found to have stalked/harassed her and was guilty of “misconduct” in his elected position.

The criminal complaint for Monday’s Zoom hearing  says Duncan was questioned by Wyoming investigators regarding this second sexual misconduct allegation in May 2021.  The female victim is related to the Duncan family,  and alleges Duncan coerced her into being a party to sexual acts and videotaping the incidents, to satisfy a blackmailer who is now alleged to have been Duncan.  Wyoming Police stated he “declined to give a statement.”

The hearing this week resulted in Judge Seabrooks granting Duncan to remain out of jail,  under conditions.

He is due in court next for an omnibus (evidentiary) hearing February 6, 2023.  

He is not allowed to have a firearm, to have no contact with this victim, not to leave the state and be booked and released by the jail staff for the record as soon as possible.

Added twist
An incident at Duncan’s residence last week, in which his attorney noted that “my client [Duncan] was stabbed in the back” was mentioned in the Zoom hearing. According to the prosecuting attorney, Duncan reportedly requested the responding officers to alert his alleged victim, the attorney said,  to “warn her” for her safety.

Duncan was reminded by the judge that he must not have any contact whatsoever and was asked if he fully understood what this meant, and he responded he did.  
As for this reported assault, Wyoming Police Chief  Bauer told the Press the agency was not able to release any information on this call alleging Duncan was “stabbed” November 22 while he was alone in his home.  Chief Bauer said he could only confirm there was a call and the report is “actively being investigated.”

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