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Bemidji man found guilty in sex assault case against 11-year-old

A Bemidji man accused of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl in April 2013 was found guilty in Beltrami County Court.

Jeremy Bruce Cournoyer, 33, of Bemidji is charged with felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct. He entered a not guilty plea in October and waived his right to a jury trial. Cournoyer maintained a not guilty plea, however he was found guilty by Beltrami County Judge John Melbye in a court trial. Trial proceedings began on June 4 and concluded Tuesday.

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 victim was living in with her mother, three brothers and another family for the assault to have occurred. During cross examination of the now 12-year-old victim, the defense heard no mention of penetration, which is a deciding factor in the degree of the crime.

In 2004, Cournoyer was convicted of serious felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct for inappropriately touching an 11-year-old girl. That girl, now a woman, testified during Cournoyer's trial in June. His most recent alleged victim did as well.

Cournoyer is facing a maximum of 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine. Cournoyer is scheduled for sentencing Aug. 22.

Crystal Dey
Crystal Dey covers crime, courts, tribal relations and social issues for The Bemidji Pioneer in Bemidji, Minnesota. Originally from Minnesota’s Iron Range, Dey has worked for the Echo Press in Alexandria, Minnesota, The Forum in Fargo, North Dakota, The Tampa Tribune in Tampa, Florida, the Hartford Courant in Hartford and West Hartford News in West Hartford, Connecticut. Dey studied Mass Communications at Minnesota State University Moorhead with an emphasis in Online Journalism. Follow Crystal Dey on Twitter @Crystal_Dey.
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