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Former law enforcement officer who prosecutor says 'preyed' on boy sentenced to three years

Former law enforcement officer who prosecutor says 'preyed' on boy sentenced to three years

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A former law enforcement officer who a prosecutor said "preyed" on a boy and had sex with him has been sentenced to three years in prison.

Richard Allen Anderson, of Turtle Lake, was charged last year with corruption or solicitation of minors, luring minors by computer, sexual assault and indecent exposure.

In January, Allen pleaded guilty to all counts except the indecent exposure charge, which McLean County State's Attorney Ladd Erickson said was dismissed.

Last year, the McLean County Sheriff's Department contacted the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigation to assist in a sexual assault investigation involving a 15-year-old boy.

The boy told law enforcement he met Anderson during a traffic stop. Anderson was previously a deputy for the McLean County Sheriff's Department.

The boy said Anderson befriended him, and that Anderson sexually assaulted him in the fall of 2017.

"This was a very predatory act on a young boy," Erickson said Tuesday at Anderson's sentencing hearing.

Erickson said the boy is "cognitively slower."

"I believe the defendant preyed on that, took advantage of that, for his sexual needs," Erickson said.

EricksonĀ asked that Anderson be sentenced to a total of three years in prison, three years of supervised probation and require that Anderson register as a sex offender.

The boy's stepfather also said at the hearing that the boy "was at the bottom on his class in academia." He also said the boy and his mother have moved three times since Anderson's arrest, and he expressed concerns about Anderson re-offending.

Paul Merkens, Anderson's court-appointed attorney, told South Central District Judge John Grinsteiner that Anderson "has no criminal history."

"He's unlikely to commit another crime based on history," Merkens said, later adding that Anderson "essentially admitted to everything that's happened here."

Anderson gave emotional testimony on Tuesday, stating that he was "not in the right state of mind" when he had an inappropriate relationship with the boy.

"I take 100% responsibility for my actions and I am sorry," Anderson said, adding that he's committed to completing treatment.

Prior to sentencing Anderson, Grinsteiner said he heard about Anderson and his mental health issues, but not the victim of the crime.

"Part of what was asked of this court was to hold Mr. Anderson, because he's former law enforcement and a veteran, in a different regard, and the court does that. In fact, I expect him to act in a different regard," Grinsteiner said, referring to officers being held to a higher standard.

Grinsteiner upheld the state's recommendation, which he called "more than fair," adding that he considered a higher sentence.

Anderson was taken into custody after the hearing.

(Reach Blair Emerson at 701-250-8251 or Blair.Emerson@bismarcktribune.com)

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