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Assault charges won't be filed against former deputy

A former Hubbard County deputy will not be charged with an alleged sexual assault he was accused of last summer.

No formal announcement was made, but the apparent conclusion of the matter came to light recently in testimony in an unrelated court matter.

Hubbard County Attorney Don Dearstyne confirmed that the case, which had been turned over to Clearwater County Attorney Jeanine Brand, would not proceed to the filing of formal charges. He declined further comment.

Brand did not return calls seeking comment about the case.

Sources close to the investigation, conducted by the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, said the prospective witnesses' statements were not reliable enough to take the case before a jury.

The deputy resigned last month after being placed on paid administrative leave last fall when the incident came to light.

He testified in the unrelated matter that he resigned under pressure; "public dissemination of the allegations" made it impossible for him to return to the job. He said he entered into a severance package with the Hubbard County Sheriff's Department to receive three months pay and benefits.

That testimony is at odds with a statement county coordinator Jack Paul made when the deputy resigned, saying the man was under no pressure to quit.

The deputy testified that he was pressured to enter into the agreement or risk being fired.

The Sheriff's Department did not respond to a request for comment on the matter by press time.

Hubbard County commissioners have declined to fill the position, saying the department is running fine with one less deputy. The board enacted a hiring freeze earlier this winter.