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Minnesota man pleads guilty to sexually abuse

BEMIDJI, Minn. – A Bemidji man accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl in April 2013 has pleaded guilty in Beltrami County Court.

Jeremy Bruce Cournoyer, 33, was charged with felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He waived his right to a jury trial and opted to have Beltrami County Judge John Melbye hear his case. Trial proceedings began June 4, and Cournoyer changed his plea to guilty in late June.

Chief Beltrami County Attorney Annie Claesson-Huseby said there were two aggravating factors accompanying Cournoyer’s charge: sexual assault/penetration in two or more ways and using position of authority or trust to gain access to his victim.

Cournoyer’s defense argued there was no opportunity or room in the house the girl was living in with her mother, three brothers and family for the assault to have occurred.

In 2004, Cournoyer was convicted of serious felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct for inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl. That victim, now a woman, testified during Cournoyer’s trial. His most recent victim did as well. Cournoyer faces up to 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.

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