AUSTIN, Minn. (FOX 47) -- The police chief of Brownsdale, Jason W. Mindrup, has been charged with 1st Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct.
A criminal charge filed in Mower County District Court alleges that Chief Mindrup used force to sexually assault a woman on August 31 east of Waltham, where Mindrup lives. A second felony count of 3rd Degree Criminal Sexual Conduct alleges another illegal act of sexual penetration.
An agent of the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension investigated the woman's complaint, which was first reported to the Mower County Sheriff's Office at 2 a.m. on August 31.
The woman told the BCA investigator that she socialized with Chief Mindrup and another man at Cheers Bar in Waltham about 11 p.m. on August 30. Later, she said she and her companion left the bar to walk outside to a nearby location, but the chief drove up and said he was "concerned for her welfare and offered to give her a ride." She told the investigator the chief then drove her east of Waltham, stopped the pickup, went outside and undressed, then returned and assaulted her in the vehicle. The woman said he drove her back to the bar afterwards, but it had since closed for the night. Even so, she said the bartender let her inside; later, she says she walked to a nearby friend's home and phoned 911 to report being sexually assaulted.
The bartender of Cheers Bar told investigators that the woman "was crying and looked scared" when she was dropped off, and after she had been let inside the bar, when Chief Mindrup looked through the window, she "became visibly upset."
Two BCA agents met with Chief Mindrup on September 10 along with his attorney to get his side of what happened. Mindrup said he offered the woman a ride home because he was concerned for her, but that she wanted to go to his residence. Instead, the police chief said he drove two miles east of Waltham and parked the pickup while deciding where to take her. When she said she had left her purse back at the bar, Mindrup said he took her back there and she went inside.
Brownsdale Mayor Dave Pike said Chief Mindrup has been on administrative leave for about two months during the investigation, and that the City Council will be advised of the situation at its November 4 meeting. The case is being prosecuted by Olmsted County to avoid a conflict of interest.
Chief Mindrup is ordered to appear before a judge in Mower County District Court at 8:30 a.m. on November 14.
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