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Former Bemidji man sentenced in molestation case

BEMIDJI -- A former Bemidji man, most recently living in Moorhead, was booked into the Beltrami County Jail on Friday to serve time for molesting a family member.

Scott Duane Erickson, 44, is currently serving a 180-day sentence after pleading guilty in April to one count of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, according to court documents. Beltrami District Judge Paul Benshoof handed down the punishment, staying a sentence of three years at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility for 15 years. Erickson will be on probation for 15 years following his release.

In January, an investigator with the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office was contacted by a social worker in Clay County, where the victim then lived. According to the criminal complaint filed by the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office, the victim told another family member that Erickson had carried out acts of sexual abuse over several years.

The complaint, however, details just one instance of molestation, which occurred at the Bemidji-area home of Erickson’s father, who is a volunteer chaplain at the Beltrami County Jail, Sheriff Phil Hodapp said. Erickson’s father was not charged with a crime, and the complaint does not state he had any knowledge of the acts carried out by Scott Erickson that occurred in the home.

Police listened to recordings of phone conversations a representative of the victim had with Erickson where he admitted to carrying out the abuse at his father’s home about five years ago, saying he touched the victim “in the crotch,” according to the complaint. When asked if he would confirm the abuse began nearly a decade ago, Erickson responded by saying “yeah, I don’t remember exactly,” police said.

The crime to which Erickson pleaded guilty carries a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. According to court documents, the 180 days in jail, 15 years probation and $1,000 fine Erickson received was not a departure from sentencing guidelines.

Justin Glawe
Reporting on crime, courts and Beltrami county government. Follow me on Twitter @JustinGlawe.
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