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Kelliher man pleads guilty to sex with 13-year-old

BEMIDJI -- A 23-year-old Kelliher man plead guilty Wednesday to a sex crime involving a 13-year-old girl last July.

John Norman Wickham III is charged with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a 13-year-old girl. He plead not guilty in March and amended his plea to guilty in Beltrami County Court on Wednesday.

Wickham was arrested July 16 in Northern Township where he was observed in a truck with a passenger who was later identified as a 13-year-old female, according to court documents. During Wickham’s arrest, he informed a Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office deputy he and the girl were talking but denied any sexual contact. A search of the vehicle revealed a used condom that contained DNA from both Wickham and the girl determined by a Bureau of Criminal Apprehension laboratory analysis. The girl informed the deputy she was aware she was not supposed to have any contact with Wickham, the criminal complaint stated.

Wickham faces a maximum penalty of imprisonment for not more than one year or to a payment of a fine of not more than $3,000, or both. He was originally facing a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and a $30,000 fine. Wickham is scheduled for sentencing on Sept. 8.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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