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Men plead guilty to sex crime charge

Brandon John Chmielewski, 25, of Leonard, and Samuel Robert Smith, 21, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty Dec. 15, before Judge Paul Benshoof in Beltrami County District Court to amended charges of serious felony attempted criminal sexual conduct in the fourth degree. The original charge was serious felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim between 13 and 15 years old. Their next court dates will be Feb. 8.

On April 14, Beltrami county Sheriff's deputies were searching for a female juvenile runaway. They went to a residence on the 1000 block of Beltrami Avenue Northwest. The deputies met with two men, one identified as Smith, the other as Chmielewski.

Both men claimed that the female runaway was not at the residence. The runaway was found hiding in a closet and taken into custody. She was transported to the Northwest Minnesota Juvenile Center where she told deputies that both men had sexually penetrated her without her consent.

The deputies went to the residence and spoke with both men, the complaint states. Both men denied having sex with the girl. They also claimed to be unaware that the other man had sexual intercourse with her. Biological and physical evidence was seized at the residence, both pursuant to consent and to search warrant.