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Woman reports sexual assault by another woman at GOP booth at State Fair after political disagreement

Updated: August 24, 2019 06:56 PM

A volunteer at the GOP booth at the Minnesota State Fair filed a police report claiming she was sexually assaulted Friday night.

According to a Minnesota State Fair police spokesperson, a 40-year-old woman filed the report at about 10 p.m.

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The incident happened around 8:50 p.m.

"She reported she had an altercation with another adult female in front of the booth after some political disagreements, that person groped her and then walked away," said Brooke Blakey, the public information officer for Minnesota State Fair Police.

Jennifer Carnahan, the chairwoman of the Republican Party of Minnesota, told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS the incident happened as the volunteer was folding merchandise.

"This is supposed to be a place where people come together, celebrate the end of summer, go out with their family and friends, enjoy great food and no one should have to worry about sexually assaulted," said Carnahan.

Carnahan said she and several other volunteers were in other areas of the booth at the time.

"Our booth was actually fairly busy with traffic late at night, this was around 9 p.m. and I was surprised at the amount of people coming in and out," she said. "Immediately after it happened, the volunteer came up to our staff alerted them and then we encouraged her to file a police report, which she did."

She said other people have been hostile while visiting the booth.

"[They] stick up their middle fingers, start yelling swear words at all of the people in the booth, swear words about our President," she said. "People will take drinks and pour them over our merchandise."

State Fair Police said Friday’s assault is the first report of its kind this year at the fair.

Blakey said they have not received any videos of the incident. They're asking any witnesses to come forward. Anyone who knows anything about the incident can call 651-288-4500.

“The fair is a family oriented event and we welcome everybody here,” said Blakey.  “We understand that the political climate is really important and there are people who have very strong feelings on both sides that they're on, about anything that they're passionate about. So we would like to remind people that this is a family fair and just to be on their best behavior.” 

The Minnesota DFL has since spoken out against the assault.

"Physical and sexual assault have absolutely no place in our society and the Minnesota DFL condemns these actions in the strongest possible terms," Brian Evans, a Minnesota DFL spokesperson said in an emailed statement. "Going forward, we hope that everyone who attends the Great Minnesota Get-Together will be treated with the respect and compassion that we all deserve."

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Tommy Wiita/KSTP

Copyright 2019 - KSTP-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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