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Black pleads guilty to criminal sexual conduct charges

Michael John Black, 44, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Beltrami County District Court to two counts of serious felony criminal sexual conduct.

Black's next court appearance is scheduled for June 8. Meanwhile, he remains in custody in Beltrami County Jail and is ordered to undergo sex offender evaluation.

According to the criminal complaint, from 1998 to 2000, Black engaged in sexual conduct with a boy and a girl who were younger than 16 years old at the time. The complaint states that the sexual abuse in both cases involved multiple acts committed over an extended period of time. The two people said they decided to report the abuse in 2007 because they thought it would help another person.

On May 7, 2008, a Beltrami County Sheriff's investigator interviewed Black, who denied the allegations.

According to the complaint, Black's criminal record includes a charge of felony second-degree assault from a Nov. 16, 1998, incident when he pointed a loaded .12 gauge shotgun at a man and a woman and at three children. Although the offense was charged as a felony, Black pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of reckless discharge of a firearm. He was subsequently convicted of felony felon in possession of a firearm, two counts of gross misdemeanor giving a peace officer a false name and felony failure to appear in court.

If convicted, Black faces maximum penalties of 25 years in prison and $35,000 in fines on each second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge.