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Munger: Case involving three brothers is ‘inexplicable’

A 19-year-old Two Harbors man, the third of three brothers who have all pled guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct against the same young girl, was sentenced in Sixth District Court Monday. According to court documents, he pled not guilty to felony criminal sexual conduct charges last May, but petitioned the court to enter a guilty plea on four counts of fifth degree criminal sexual criminal conduct in December, just weeks before he was to stand trial. His brothers, a twin and a 16-year-old juvenile, have already been sentenced.

The crimes were committed when all three were juveniles, with charges brought against the twins after their 18th birthday. Both of the men’s cases were handled as extended jurisdiction juvenile cases, a provision that allows some cases involving serious, violent or chronic offenders to be handled in the juvenile court system. The disposition in their juvenile case includes an adult sentence in the event that they reoffend or violate the terms of their probation. The man read a brief statement before the court. The father of the young victim also read a statement.

“This is my third victim impact statement before this court. In my first two, I expressed my worries over my daughter, how she will adjust to what happened to her and the changes (her mother) and I made in our lives as a result of what happened,” he began. “I spoke about the feelings of betrayal we felt. And I talked about our difficulty trusting the people who are supposed to watch over our children.” He said that although he’s heard the recommendations of the prosecution, the rulings of the court and statements made by the perpetrators, all three of whom were known to the victim, he said that two important things have remained unanswered or unsaid.

“Why?” he asked. “She was so innocent, with no concept, no frame of reference to even begin to understand what was happening.” Second, he said that he hadn’t heard any of the three offenders express real sorrow or remorse for the abuse they’d perpetrated or the trust and innocence they’d betrayed.

“The other thing I haven’t heard from anyone is a true acceptance of the responsibility for their actions. I believe the boys are sorry,” he said. “Sorry that they embarrassed their family.

And sorry that they got caught, but I haven’t heard anything that makes me believe that they are sorry for what they did.”

As for his family, the victim’s father said that they are moving forward. He said his daughter “is a strong, confident young woman full of confidence and potential.” Her mother later told the Lake County News-Chronicle that the final sentence in the case has brought a sense of relief.

“I’m just feeling very glad that we’re at the closing point to this,” she said.

The offender was sentenced to probation and 100 hours of community service. He must register as a sex offender, provide a DNA sample and have no contact with the victim or her family, and no unsupervised contact with girls or young women under 16. He must also comply with the terms of his probation and the recommendations of his psycho-sexual evaluation, including sex offender treatment. Judge Mark Munger said that an adult sentence of four consecutive one-year sentences in jail or at the North East Regional Corrections facility could be imposed for violations of the terms of the juvenile sentence.

In a final statement regarding the case, Munger said that “the court finds it inexplicable… I’ll just leave it at that.”