Former Chisago Co. Sheriff Rick Duncan makes 1st court appearance

The former Chisago County sheriff who pled guilty to harassment charges in 2020 was back in a courtroom Monday afternoon, appearing before a judge in a new criminal case.

Prosecutors charged Rick Duncan in October with five counts of criminal sexual conduct. The allegations go back to 2017, when investigators say Duncan coerced a woman he knew into having sex with him.

RELATED: Former Chisago Co. Sheriff Rick Duncan charged with criminal sexual conduct

During the virtual court appearance on Monday, Duncan sat quietly in front of his camera, wearing a white dress shirt and tie. A pair of glasses sat on top of his head.

A special prosecutor from Crow Wing County argued that Duncan be held on bond, given the seriousness of the charges.

“It’s worth noting the victim in this case told our victim advocate that she’s very fearful of the defendant,” said prosecutor Kelsey Hopps during the hearing.

Hopps also brought up Duncan’s criminal record. In 2020, he was sentenced to four years of probation for the stalking and harassment of a female co-worker from the sheriff’s office. An internal investigation found Duncan misused his position of power and trust.

A judge approved Duncan’s release without bail as long as he stays in the state, doesn’t have any contact with the victim, avoids using any guns or weapons and stays law-abiding.

Duncan’s attorney Chris Wachtler told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS reporter Kirsten Swanson after the hearing that since it’s still early in the case, they didn’t have any comment.

Duncan’s next hearing is scheduled for Feb. 6.