Probation for diddling a kid under the color of authority. Nice. Oh, yeah, punishment is probation…payola to resign, plea agreements are a wonderful thing, aren’t they?

Ely officer sentenced to probation, resigns after admitting to misconduct

By Tom Olsen Today at 7:13 p.m.

A former Ely police sergeant will serve two years of supervised probation and must register as a predatory offender after admitting that he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl.

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Jason Allen Carlson, 38, was sentenced Monday in State District Court in Virginia after pleading guilty last month to a gross misdemeanor count of misconduct of a public officer.

Carlson, who was described as an acquaintance of the victim’s parents, admitted at a plea hearing that he carried out a relationship with the teen during late 2014 and early 2015.

Court documents indicate that he would occasionally bring the teen on ride-alongs and had regular contact with her, both on and off duty. He admitted to having sexual intercourse with the girl at a residence near Ely in December 2014, when she was 17.

Carlson, an 11-year veteran of the Ely Police Department, was placed on leave after the criminal charges were filed and resigned earlier this month after reaching a severance agreement with the city.

The age of consent in Minnesota is generally 16, but certain exceptions apply for those under 18. A St. Louis County grand jury in October 2015 indicted Carlson on a felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge, alleging that he was in a “position of authority” over the victim.

Carlson, of Aurora, was set to go to trial on Jan. 17 on the felony charge, but instead entered into a plea agreement with the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office on the reduced gross misdemeanor charge.

In accordance with the agreement, 6th Judicial District Judge Gary Pagliaccetti stayed one year of jail time in favor of probation.

Among other conditions of probation imposed by the judge, Carlson must maintain regular contact with his probation officer, abstain from alcohol and drug use and refrain from contact with the victim.

Carlson’s employment with the city officially ended on Feb. 7 when the Ely City Council accepted a “resignation in lieu of termination agreement,” according to meeting minutes.

Carlson had submitted a resignation request on Jan. 26, but the city’s Employee Relations Committee recommended against accepting it and advised the City Council to move ahead with a termination process.

City Attorney Kelly Klun noted that accepting the resignation at that point potentially would have allowed Carlson to collect a full payout of benefits, as well as unused vacation and sick time.

Carlson subsequently agreed to a $15,000 severance payment in exchange for releasing all claims against the city and agreeing to forgo any grievance processes. The agreement was unanimously adopted by the council, with member Paul Kess absent.

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