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Bemidji man pleads guilty to sex with child

Bruce Allen Melhus, 58, of Bemidji, pleaded guilty before Judge Paul Benshoof in Beltrami County District Court Dec. 15, to an amended charge of gross misdemeanor fifth degree criminal sexual conduct. The original charge was for serious felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim younger than 13. His next court date will be Feb. 8.

On July 14, officers of Beltrami County Law Enforcement were advised by a child protection investigator of a report of sexual abuse of a child. On July 8, a woman had learned from her 4-year-old child that the child had been sexually molested on three occasions in the previous two months by Melhus. The 4-year-old reported that Melhus had pulled down her pants and improperly orally fondled her on three occasions -once in the child's yard, once in a car and once inside the child's home. The child said Melhus told her not to tell anyone what had happened. Melhus was arrested at his residence. He declined to speak with the officer about the accusations.