Another sweet plea St. Louis County! Haven’t we all been told public officials should be held to a higher standard?

Former state trooper from Hibbing pleads guilty to sex charges

By Tom Olsen on Feb 17, 2017 at 10:23 p.m.

A former Minnesota state trooper on the Iron Range has pleaded guilty to charges that he inappropriately touched two women during a bonfire gathering in July 2015.

Todd Allan Lindstrom, 46, of Hibbing, entered into a plea agreement with the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office on Thursday in State District Court in Hibbing.

He entered Norgaard pleas to a felony count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct and gross misdemeanor count of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. A Norgaard plea can be invoked when a defendant accepts guilt but is unable to remember circumstances of the crime due to intoxication or amnesia.

Under the terms of a plea agreement, Lindstrom would receive a stay of adjudication, allowing the convictions to stay off his record if he successfully completes four years of probation. St. Louis County prosecutor Gary Bjorklund said conditions of probation will be determined at sentencing.

Sixth Judicial District Judge David Ackerson scheduled that hearing for March 30. Lindstrom remains free on his own recognizance.

Defense attorney Fred Bruno of Minneapolis said the agreement gives Lindstrom the opportunity to accept responsibility while also allowing him to keep the conviction off his record by successfully completing probation.

“It gives you the certainty of a dismissal, which would be the same result as going to trial and having a not guilty verdict,” Bruno told the News Tribune. “It’s a way of getting everything dismissed without any risk of conviction. It’s a good compromise.”

Bruno said that Lindstrom voluntarily resigned from his position, where he was placed on leave after the charges were filed in August 2015. Sgt. Neil Dickenson of the Minnesota State Patrol confirmed that his last day of employment was Dec. 20.

According to the charges:

The two women reported the incidents to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office on July 26, 2015, a day after they attended a backyard bonfire at Lindstrom’s residence. The women and other witnesses said Lindstrom had been intoxicated during the gathering.

One of the women said Lindstrom reached up under her shorts while he was walking her to her car to leave at about 2 a.m. She said she “batted his hand away and told him to stop,” but he tried to grab her hand.

When they reached the car, she said, he pushed her up against the vehicle and was trying to force her to rub her hands on his body. Investigators noted bruises on the woman’s wrist and bicep.

After the woman was inside the car, she alleged, Lindstrom leaned inside the window and was trying to rub her thighs while she kept hitting his hands away.

A second woman reported that she had gone to sleep in a tent in Lindstrom’s yard at about 1 a.m. About 90 minutes later, Lindstrom entered the tent, laid on top of her and started kissing her, she said.

The woman alleged that Lindstrom attempted to put his hand down her pants and up her shirt and was rubbing her thigh. She said she was able to slide out from underneath Lindstrom when he attempted to unzip her jeans, and he eventually left the tent. The woman told authorities that Lindstrom said “he had expected more from her.”

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