Editor's Note: This story contains the account of a transgender individual. As a result, the person is referred to as they/their/them.
WORTHINGTON — After being convicted of criminal sexual conduct toward a soldier in their care, a corrections officer at the Minnesota Corrections Facility in Shakopee will serve six years of supervised probation.
David Melland-O'Hara, now known as Laura Melland-O'Hara, 34, of Chaska, was serving as a sergeant at the U.S. Army Reserve Center in Worthington in July 2018. Shortly before 3 a.m. July 28, a soldier called the police and reported that they'd witnessed Melland-O'Hara sexually assaulting another soldier, and that the victim was intoxicated and passed out at the time.
The witness, along with other soldiers, detained Melland-O'Hara while waiting for police to arrive.
The victim was taken to the emergency room to complete a sexual assault kit, which was then taken into evidence.
Melland-O'Hara told police their role that night was to make sure all the soldiers were separated by sex, with men on one side of the room and women on the other. They were reportedly sitting in a chair doing just that when they fell asleep, and woke up to find themself sexually touching the victim.
A preliminary breath test sample from Melland-O'Hara showed a breath alcohol content of 0.56%.
The sexual assault kit showed DNA from two people, and ruled out 99.999999996% of the population other than Melland-O'Hara and the victim as the two people.
Melland-O'Hara was charged with one count each of first-, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. They pleaded guilty to the fourth-degree charge, a felony indicating that the victim was mentally impaired and/or helpless.
Melland-O'Hara appeared in Nobles County District Court Wednesday to be sentenced. Fifth Judicial District Judge Terry Vajgrt pronounced Melland-O'Hara guilty of the crime, but granted a stay of imposition, meaning he did not impose a prison term. Rather, Melland-O'Hara will serve six years of supervised probation and pay a $1,000 fine, which may be worked off through community service.
Because Melland-O'Hara was summoned to court rather than booked into jail, there is no mugshot.