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Sexual conduct conviction overturned on appeal - Mesabi Daily News: News

Sexual conduct conviction overturned on appeal

Former board member Strong’s case back to District Court on another charge

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Posted: Tuesday, March 19, 2013 11:42 pm

ST. PAUL — The second-degree felony sexual assault conviction of former Virginia School Board member Donovan Strong has been overturned by a three-judge appellate court panel.

The ruling stems from a July, 2, 2011, incident at a beach on Lake Vermilion involving a girl who was 12 years old at the time. Strong was part of a group of family and friends celebrating the Fourth of July weekend.

The appeals court did uphold his conviction on a charge of solicitation of a child for sexual conduct. However, that charge had been dismissed by the District Court in Virginia because it was associated with the same behavioral incident. The ruling sent that charge back to District Court and Judge Gary Pagliaccetti for further consideration.

A call to the prosecutor in the case, Todd Webb of the Itasca County Attorney’s Office, for comment Tuesday afternoon was not returned.

The jury’s guilty verdict against Strong was handed down on Oct. 26, 2011. He was acquitted of first-degree sexual conduct. Strong was immediately taken into custody in the courtroom after the verdict was read.

He was sentenced in late-December of the same year to one year at the Northeast Regional Correction Center in Duluth — with a minimum of nine months served. In addition, he was given a stayed prison term of 36 months, which means it was suspended as long as he met conditions of parole, and 15 years of probation. Strong was also given credit for 61 days of time served.

It was at sentencing where the solicitation charge was dismissed.

Strong’s appeal centered around the interpretation of “immediate area,” regarding a bow-string on the girl’s bikini bottom that, according to the facts in the court ruling, Strong touched and grasped to pull the bikini bottom down about one-half of an inch.

“We conclude that contact with clothing approximately one-half of an inch below the normal waistline of a bikini bottom is not sufficiently close to the primary genital area so as to be within the ‘immediate area’ of this intimate part.

“...Accordingly, we reverse Strong’s conviction of second-degree criminal sexual conduct,” the ruling reads.

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  • Scan posted at 9:27 pm on Wed, Apr 17, 2013.

    Scan Posts: 1

    It's no wonder why I've moved away from my home town... with two low information voter attitudes like these two idiots. I've seen and followed this wrongful prejudiced case thru to the end. It's a shame @$$es like you both even live up there in God's country. An upstanding family, friends and community surrounds this family. Wong is wrong. Luckily the truth came out despite this editors skewed articles persisting to spread a spin like any other news outlet. Sexual assault is never to be tolerated; and so is prejudice and spreading lies and above all attorneys and jurors who wrongfully disregard MN state statutes on this subject. READ the LAW you IDIOTS. What angers me is this stupid range mentality that never seems to grow up. - Iron Ranger at heart - but different - I have a brain and actually read. I will always follow the truth. The truth will set people free and so it shows.

  • rick posted at 5:38 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    rick Posts: 141

    Might those three judges names be Moe, Larry and Curly?

  • rick posted at 3:46 am on Sat, Mar 23, 2013.

    rick Posts: 141

    So from what I gather its now legal for any pervert to go to the beach and grasp at young girls bikini bottoms? Maybe signs should posted at beaches describing where and how far I can pull at them? These brilliant judges names should be published!


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