North Branch man pleads guilty to sex crime

Jon Tatting
ECM Post Review

A 47-year-old North Branch man has pleaded guilty to a felony count of criminal sexual conduct in the 4th degree, stemming from sexual relations he had with a juvenile in Isanti County.

Robert Eugene Newman entered the plea during a July 28 hearing before 10th District Judge James Dehn in Isanti County District Court in Cambridge.

“I’m very sorry for my actions. It was all me. (The victim) didn’t do anything wrong,” confessed a teary-eyed Newman of the Jan. 11, 2011 incident, which involved sexual touching.

Accepting the plea agreement, Judge Dehn also ordered a pre-sentence investigation. Until then, Newman must continue to follow his conditions of release — including a no contact order with the victim — which were originally set when he posted $30,000 bail in January.

According to court records, Newman was convicted of second degree criminal sexual conduct in Hennepin County in 1994 when he lived in Hopkins, Minn. He was sentenced to treatment through Project Pathfinders, a nonprofit that deals with issues of sexual abuse.

As a condition of his probation following the 1994 conviction, Newman was barred from solitary contact with juvenile females. His probation concluded in 2005 and his prior count was reduced to a misdemeanor.

In 2010, Newman had been a candidate for the North Branch School Board.