News Briefs: Teen takes plea deal in school sex crime caseA Fisher teenager will spend at least 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to sex crimes with two kindergarten girls during class time.
Editor's note: The following is a collection of news briefs from Forum Communication newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota.
Teen takes plea deal in school sex crime case
CROOKSTON, Minn. -- A Fisher teenager will spend at least 12 years in prison after pleading guilty to sex crimes with two kindergarten girls during class time.
Jarrin Boucher, 18, pleaded guilty in a deal with prosecutors Tuesday in state district court in Crookston to two counts of first degree criminal sexual conduct with two girls during the 2011-2012 school year.
The terms of the plea agreement recommend a range from 12 to nearly 14 years in prison, said Alex Reichert, Boucher’s attorney. A judge will determine the exact sentence after an investigation.
As high school senior at the time, Boucher was taking part in a program that earned him class credit for assisting in the kindergarten class.
Boucher was first charged May 1 with sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl. Later, a 5-year-old girl came forward with similar allegations.
The girls told their parents and authorities Boucher touched them under their clothing during nap times.
After first denying the allegations, Boucher, who turned 18 in April, admitted to the acts.
Plea deal reached in restaurant robbery
DULUTH -- If he hadn’t victimized so many people – some violently -- Rico Burness-El would have been a sympathetic figure Wednesday afternoon in State District Court in Duluth.
His attorney told the court that Burness-El dropped out of school in the eighth grade, can’t read and has a lengthy history of mental illness.
Chief Public Defender Fred Friedman had to read a plea agreement to the defendant and make clear to Judge Heather Sweetland that his client understood what he was pleading guilty to and the resulting consequences.
Burness-El, 52, pleaded guilty to first-degree aggravated robbery for robbing a Little Angie’s Cantina employee at knifepoint in September as a woman employee was closing the restaurant. He also pleaded guilty to offering a forged check that he had stolen that same day from a purse in the Ordean Building.
As part of a plea agreement reached with the St. Louis County Attorney’s Office, Burness-El agreed to serve a nine-year prison sentence. Sweetland directed an Arrowhead Regional Corrections probation officer to investigate the defendant’s background before sentencing on Dec. 10.
Two from N.D. killed in crash
DODGE CENTER, Minn. -- Three people were killed, including two from Zap, N.D., in a traffic accident Tuesday evening near Dodge Center, Minn.
Minnesota State Patrol has identified the victims as Scott Hodgman, 50, of West Concord, Minn., Jack Reich, 43, of Zap, and Vander Reich, 10, also of Zap.
According to the report, Hodgman was operating a 2007 GMC Sierra eastbound on U.S. Highway 14 west of Dodge Center when it was involved in a collision at about 6:31 p.m. Tuesday with a westbound 2008 Chevy Suburban driven by Jack Reich.
Dodge Center is located west of Rochester, Minn.
Mardee Reich, 39, a passenger in the Reich vehicle, received non-life-threatening injuries.
Cell Phones for Soldiers drive planned
FARGO – MinnKota Recycling and “Cell Phones for Soldiers” will commemorate Veterans Day and America Recycles Day by collecting gently-used cellular phones through Nov. 17 at any of MinnKota’s five redemption centers in Fargo and Grand Forks, N.D., and Moorhead and Detroit Lakes, Minn.
Donated phones are recycled, and proceeds are used to purchase international calling cards for deployed troops.
For every donated phone valued at $5, Cell Phones for Soldiers is able to provide two-and-a-half hours of free talk time to military members
Cell Phones for Soldiers was founded by Robbie and Brittany Bergquist at the ages of 12 and 13. The charity has since provided more than 168 million minutes of free talk time to servicemen and women stationed around the world.
For more information, log on to www.cellphonesforsoldiers.com.
Online scam threatens jail time, asks for money
FARGO – The North Dakota Attorney General is warning residents here about a new computer scam.
The scam involves a phony security alarm that demands the computer user pay money or face jail time, according to a release from the office of Wayne Stenehjem.
According to the release, the alarm will pop up on computer screens and say the FBI has taken control of the computer because it has been linked to illegal downloading. The user then will be prompted to pay money in order to “unlock” the computer.
Authorities report that the virus is prolific and has been found on many popular sites that offer free music, computer desktop wallpapers and video codes.
The security program is a computer virus that must be removed by a professional, Stenehjem said.
Man killied in crash with truck
TRENTON, N.D. -- A Glendive, Mont. man died Tuesday morning when the pickup he was driving on Highway 1804 west of Trenton crossed the centerline and hit a semi hauling an excavator.
The accident killed Thomas Underberg, 25, according to the North Dakota Highway Patrol. He was wearing a seatbelt.
The semi driver, 37-year-old Jason Kusmenko of Zap, was not wearing a seat belt and was not injured.
Kusmenko was charged with driving an overloaded truck without a permit, according to the release.
S.D. man pleads guilty to sex, alcohol charges
FARGO – A Sisseton, S.D., man pleaded guilty Wednesday in Cass County District Court to a felony charge of gross sexual imposition and a misdemeanor charge of providing alcohol to a minor.
David Gunderson, who is either 23 or 24, entered his guilty plea to the felony charge in the form of an Alford plea, meaning he did not admit to the charge but acknowledged there was a likelihood a jury would convict him based on the evidence.
According to information provided by the prosecutor during a hearing Wednesday:
Gunderson gave a 17-year-old girl alcohol, and after falling asleep, the girl awoke to find Gunderson committing sexual acts on her.
The incident happened in December 2009 in Cass County.
Gunderson will be sentenced after a pre-sentence investigation.