MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A 56-year-old man faces seven felony charges after telling investigators he had sex with an inmate while working as a corrections officer in northern Minnesota, according to court documents filed Friday.
The charges against James Bongaarts of Tower, Minn., stem from an investigation that started Thursday, when authorities received a report that Bongaarts sexually assaulted a female inmate multiple times at the correctional facility in Togo.
According to the criminal complaint:
When investigators spoke with the inmate, who’d been at the facility for about five months, she said that during the last two months she had sex (or tried to have sex) with Bongaarts about 10 times. She said the most recent encounter took place on Wednesday.
That night, the inmate said she checked herself out of the barracks and met Bongaarts, who let her into a nearby building. They went into the building’s basement and had sex on some mats in a storage area.
Investigators spoke with Bongaarts on Thursday. He admitted to having sex with the inmate on Wednesday night on the mats in the storage area. He also said that he and the inmate had tried to have sex three other times in the last two weeks, adding that he succeeded in having sex with her on both Wednesday and Monday.
The two, Bongaarts said, would usually have sex in the storage area. Only once did they attempt sex in a different building.
Bongaarts faces two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, four counts of third-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct and one count of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct. If convicted of all charges, he might see a maximum penalty of 70 years in prison and/or a $140,000 fine.
Bongaarts is currently in the Itasca County Jail. He is slated to appear in court on Dec. 3.