Former Chisago County sheriff charged with stalking, threats of violence

December 22, 2018 10:36 AM

Former Chisago County Sheriff Richard Duncan was charged Friday with one count of stalking, one count of making threats of violence and one count of misconduct of a public officer. 

A release sent out by the Anoka County Attorney's Office stated Duncan was charged in connection with acts that occurred in October and November of 2017.

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An investigative report released to KSTP in a data request, along with emails and text messages reveals a series of bizarre events starting in October 2017:

A woman said she first heard about a series of letters in a closed-door meeting with Duncan in October. Duncan showed her a letter he claimed was sent to his residence mentioning the two. He said he destroyed one letter and brought another to the Minneapolis Police Department to check for fingerprints. 

RELATED: Chisago County declines to pay legal fees for sheriff sued by employee

When no fingerprints were lifted from that letter, he destroyed it, the report states. 

But he showed her what he said was a third letter, the report states, which outlined the demands of the sender, using the alias "Control Freak."

The letter stated the two had to go to Bemidji for four days and stay in a hotel room. In later emails, Duncan said "Control Freak" had specified the two had to stay at a specific hotel with a king-sized bed. It outlined what reading material would be allowed and noted the sheriff could bring his iPad. It also asked they pack swimsuits.

The letters from "Control Freak" sent by Duncan had threats made toward her children and husband.

Duncan told her not to tell anyone about the letters, including her husband or law enforcement, according to the report. 

In October, Duncan wrote in an email, apparently to the co-worker in reference to what "Control Freak" was demanding.

"I think we have to try to end this thing anyway (sic) we can even if it means we have to do what he says. If he holds it over us then we go with our other options," wrote Duncan. "I think we can do whatever we have to and bring it to the grave with us and still have a strong relationship with our spouses ... I don't think we have a choice."

RELATED: Chisago County employee sues retired sheriff, county over blackmailing incident

The two exchanged email and text messages, but the woman began to suspect something was off a few days later.

The report states, "she was feeling very confused but started to think the situation was too strange to be true." 

She told the investigator Duncan would write clues for elaborate scavenger hunts of fake crime at fundraisers, and the language seemed similar. She added she had trouble distinguishing between the sheriff's emails and the letters.

That same day the sheriff said in an email he thought "Control Freak" wanted them to have sex at the hotel in Bemidji. He had arranged for them to attend a training for four days in November, the report reveals.

In early November he wrote, "If I knew that we had a good chance of catching this guy through a thorough investigation, I would do it, but we have nothing, and I am not going to Jeopardize (sic) our work situation amongst all not external situations."

Days later Duncan said the letter writer had hacked his phone and accounts, causing him to have to clear his private data and get a new phone, the report states. He also told her "Control Freak" had remotely listened to their calls.

He also gave the option of backing out, according to emails. She did end up taking him up on that offer, the investigation reveals, canceling the trip.

In March, Duncan announced his campaign for re-election. 

RELATED: Criminal investigation pending against retired Chisago County sheriff who blackmailed, sexually harassed co-worker

The woman filed her complaint, which prompted the investigation. Once it began, Duncan went on medical leave, and the woman who filed the complaint was placed on administrative leave, according to the report. 

Duncan hired an attorney on April 9, and his interview was scheduled for April 13. He did not meet with investigators. 

On April 25, Duncan sent an email to his attorney stating, "I, and only I, am the source of the emails and text in regard to the current inquiry."

The female employee's attorney, Leslie Lienemann said, "It's shocking conduct of an elected official and law enforcement at any level."

"We suspected because of the results of the investigation that might've prompted Mr. Duncan to retire," Messelt said.

In an April announcement, Duncan said he was retiring due to medical issues. 

READ: Sheriff Duncan's retirement letter

Duncan is currently not in custody. There is no court date scheduled at this time, according to court documents.

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Tommy Wiita & Brett Hoffland

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