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National Guard recruiter in Bemidji arrested for sexual misconduct

BEMIDJI—A National Guard recruiter from Bemidji was recently charged with third-degree criminal sexual conduct after allegedly having contact with a minor female in the Bemidji National Guard armory.

In addition to the physical encounter, Staff Sgt. Ryan Francis Rivers, 33, was allegedly involved in an illicit group chat with the same minor, as well as a second minor on the social media platform Snapchat.

Ryan Francis Rivers

The officials at an area high school reported the group chat to the authorities Feb. 1. Investigators then interviewed one of the two victims, who told them about her encounter with Rivers at the armory.

According to the complaint, the minor went to the National Guard Armory on Jan. 20 to undergo a pre-ASVAB test (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery), which would determine her qualifications for the National Guard.

During the process, Rivers reportedly asked the 17-year-old minor if "she was OK with anything." He then escorted her into another room, where he locked the door, took off her shirt and began kissing her before performing oral sex on the minor.

He then reportedly said "let's see what other skills you have," at which point she performed oral sex on him. The minor later told investigators that she didn't want to do what she did with Rivers.

When investigators interviewed the second 17-year-old minor involved in the group chat, she said they both met Rivers previously during a trip with the Junior ROTC program (Reserve Officer Training Corps).

Investigators then interviewed Rivers at the armory. Although he admitted to having "sexual relations" in the armory, he refused to turn over either his personal or work phone to investigators. He was subsequently arrested.

The National Guard could not be reached for comment.

Jordan Shearer

Jordan Shearer covers crime and social issues for the Bemidji Pioneer. A Rochester native and Bemidji State grad, he previously spent several years in western Nebraska writing for the Keith County News. Follow him on Twitter @Jmanassa

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