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Judge throws out case accusing Bemidji woman of sex charge

BEMIDJI – A Bemidji woman accused of sexual misconduct with an autistic boy has been cleared.

Janet Verjean Kern, 73, of Bemidji, had been charged with felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim who is mentally impaired or helpless.

In a jury trial held Thursday and Friday, Beltrami County District Judge John Melbye “directed a verdict of acquittal,” according to defense attorney Tom Kuesel.

The case never reached the jury for deliberation, Kuesel said, “The judge threw it out.”

Kern, charged in May, pleaded not guilty to the charge in August.