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Youth Pastor sentenced to 15 years probation

Fri, May 2nd, 2008
Posted in Court

PRESTON - Judge Robert Benson told Derrick Reagan DeBoef, 27, of Sherrard, IL, that his conviction for criminal sexual conduct with a 17 year old minor female in 2006 was an "inexcusable betrayal of your trust." Benson then sentenced DeBoef, who was a Youth Pastor at Valley Christian Center in Spring Valley at the time of the incident, to 15 years probation.

DeBoef pled guilty to two counts of criminal sexual conduct; all other charges were dismissed as part of a plea agreement. DeBoef met the victim when she was a youth leader in a program he supervised while he was employed at Valley Christian Center.

On the first count, Benson sentenced DeBoef to 18 months in prison, but stayed imposition of sentencing for 15 years. He also ordered DeBoef to serve 120 days in jail, pay a $1000 fine and register as a sex offender. The conditions of his sentencing require DeBoef to not frequent places where children congregate and have no activity where he is in a position of supervising children. This includes having no unsupervised contact with his own four children, all of whom are under the age of six.

On the second count, Benson sentenced DeBoef to 23 months in prison, but stayed execution of sentencing for 15 years.

DeBoef told the court that he has become a changed man over the last year.

"I know 'I am sorry' doesn't always fix things," DeBoef told the court. "I am scared of being away from my kids. My children deserve to have a father."

Judge Benson told DeBoef that the impact on his family was one of the consequences of his actions.

Benson gave probation officers the latitude to set the conditions by which DeBoef is employed in any supervisory capacity.

"If he is supervising a work crew, I don't care," Benson said. "But if one of the work crew is a 17 year old female, I care."

"It is horrifying to me that a person in your position of trust would take advantage of a youth under your supervision," Benson continued. "If you violate the terms and conditions of your probation, you will be serving your time in prison."

DeBoef was represented by Public Defender Fred Suhler, Jr. The state was represented by County Attorney Kelly Wagner.

Felony Sentencing

• Melody Ann Morgan, 24, of Lansing, MN, was sentenced to five years probation on May 1, 2008 in District Court after being found guilty by a jury of malicious punishment of a child related to an incident on July 1, 2004 when she disciplined one of her children by using a hangar.

Judge Benson sentenced Morgan to 366 days in jail, but stayed imposition of sentencing for five years, placing her on probation. In addition to probation, Benson ordered Morgan to pay a fine of $500 and serve 60 days in jail. The terms of her sentencing require Morgan to participate in mental health counseling. She can have no unsupervised contact with children under the age of eight. Since the incident, Morgan has lost custody of her two children.

Morgan was represented by Public Defender Fred Suhler, Jr.

• Garren Lee Brusse, 24, of Spring Valley, was sentenced to three years probation on April 21, 2008 in District Court after pleading guilty to fleeing a police officer. All other charges, including misdemeanor driving under the influence and five motor vehicle violations, were dismissed as part of a plea agreement.

In court, Brusse admitted to driving a vehicle in excess of 100 miles per hour on September 29, 2007, to flee a police officer. The officer had noticed that Brusse had failed to properly stop at a stop sign. Brusse then fled when the officer engaged his emergency lights.

Judge Robert Benson stayed imposition of sentencing and placed Brusse on probation. Brusse must serve 21 days in jail, with credit for two days served. He must also pay a $1000 fine.

Mr. Brusse was represented in court by Attorney Larry Maus.

Felony Charges

• Seth Richard Oeltjen, 22, of Rochester, was charged in District Court on April 28, 2008, with possession of a controlled substance - Ecstasy. He was also charged with misdemeanor driving under the influence and possession of a weapon without a permit.

According to court documents, it is alleged that on February 2, 2008, Oeltjen was driving a vehicle and pulled over on a low maintenance road, where it appeared he was stuck in the snow. Law enforcement officers stopped to assist and noticed the smell of alcohol. A breath test indicated an alcohol level of greater than .07. A search of the vehicle turned up a .40 cal. pistol in the back seat. Oeltjen did not have a permit for the weapon. Oeltjen was later found to possess some pills which turned out to be the drug Ecstasy.

Judge Robert Benson released Oeltjen on his own recognizance pending his next court appearance on June 9, 2008.

Mr. Oeltjen is being represented by Rochester attorney Gary Gittus.

• Richard Conrad Simon, 47, of Rushford, was charged on April 28, 2008, in District Court with making terroristic threats, a felony.

According to the criminal complaint, it is alleged that on June 7, 2006, Simon made threats to a Rushford bank employee after his bank accounts were placed under a guardianship administered by another person.

No date has been set for Simon's next court appearance.

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