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CLOQUET, Minn. — After a mandatory retirement law forced him from his Minnesota Supreme Court seat in 1993, Lawrence Yetka returned to his hometown of Cloquet. The man who had just spent two decades deciding the state's highest-profile cases went to the Carlton County Courthouse with a request. He wanted to ease the burden on local judges by volunteering his time to hear small claims cases a couple days a week.
DULUTH, Minn.—Prosecutors can move forward with the case against a former Duluth youth pastor accused of sexually abusing two girls more than a decade ago, a judge ruled recently. Ellis William Simmons, 38, is accused of sexually assaulting two victims between approximately 2000 and 2005. He was charged with three felonies in June, shortly after being released from an Illinois prison where he was incarcerated for similar crimes that occurred after he left Duluth.
DULUTH — An insurance company has agreed to pay nearly $9 million to victims of child sexual abuse as part of the first settlement reached in the Diocese of Duluth's bankruptcy case. Nebraska-based Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America is one of five insurers that were sued by the diocese, which filed for bankruptcy nearly two years ago and sought to force coverage of 125 abuse claims. Diocese spokesman Kyle Eller called the agreement a "major step forward" for both the diocese and victims.
HIBBING, Minn.—Prosecutors are appealing a judge's ruling that tossed the most serious charges against a man shot by Hibbing police officers after an altercation in January. Sixth Judicial District Judge Mark Starr last month granted a defense motion dismissing an attempted second-degree murder charge and three counts of first-degree assault against 24-year-old Che Nathaniel Jones.
DULUTH — Duluth police investigator John Barrett recognizes that traditional law enforcement techniques often don't work for sexual assault victims. In fact, intrusive interviews and evidence collection procedures can actually have negative impacts on investigations, he said. Peppered with questions, victims can feel like they're being unfairly judged. Struggling to get answers, investigators can become skeptical of the victims' claims.
The future of an $18 million discrimination lawsuit brought against the University of Minnesota Duluth by three former women's sports coaches will be on the line in a Minneapolis courtroom Monday, Oct. 30. The university's attorneys will argue that former women's hockey coach Shannon Miller, former softball coach Jen Banford and former women's basketball coach Annette Wiles have failed to produce evidence that they were forced from their positions due to age, gender, sexual orientation or national origin.
GRAND RAPIDS, Minn. — A woman will spend more than 30 years in prison for beheading a Hibbing man whom she said sexually assaulted her. Kayleene Danielle Greniger, 23, of Grand Rapids, pleaded guilty earlier this year to intentional second-degree murder in the June 2016 killing of 20-year-old David Haiman. On Monday, Oct. 16, a judge ordered her to serve 367 months in prison -- the maximum sentence permitted under state guidelines.
DULUTH — Brenda Leffler Harteau started off a recent training session for local law enforcement officers with an anonymous survey. She wanted to know what officers think when they hear the terms "biased policing" and "racial profiling." No politically correct answers, she requested — just the first words that come to mind. She received an array of written responses from the 16 officers in the room at Duluth's Public Safety Building: • "Citizens not getting their way; chance to riot." • "Lack of compassion, unprofessional, not the norm."
A Grand Portage woman burned down her own home in an effort to “destroy a bad spirit,” according to charges filed Wednesday. Lori Jean Dahmen, 46, was arrested Tuesday evening after she reportedly used a cigarette lighter to set fire to a bed in the house at 71 Townsite Road. Authorities reported that she was intoxicated. Dahmen’s son, who was also home at the time, escaped without injury. The residence was considered a total loss.
DULUTH — Thirty years ago, David Johnson was stationed at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, commanding drill instructors responsible for the training of new recruits. On Friday, Oct. 6, the Duluth judge and retired colonel is returning to his old base with a special duty. He will lead the graduation ceremony for more than 300 of the country's newest Marines. "It's kind of fun to come back, since I retired seven years ago, and put the uniform on again," Johnson recently said. "It was really nice of them to do that."