Updated at 10:45 a.m. March 25
BROOKINGS – A Minnesota woman who raped a young boy in 2012-2013 has been sentenced to 35 years in prison.
Kelsie Krueger, 31, pleaded guilty Dec. 22 to one count of first-degree rape.
A Brookings County grand jury indictment says Krueger assaulted the boy between Jan. 1, 2012, and Dec. 31, 2013, when he was 2-4 years old. The abuse in Brookings County came to light from a report to a counselor and then to police in March 2019, according to a probable cause statement.
In exchange for the plea, the remaining charges in the six-count indictment alleging rape and aggravated incest were dismissed. No other charges will be brought against Krueger.
Also part of the plea agreement, the State recommended 40 years in prison.
First-degree rape is a Class C felony punishable by up to life in prison and a $50,000 fine with a mandatory minimum sentence of 15 years in prison.
A Brookings man, 35-year-old Randy Dexter, was charged as a co-defendant in the abuse. He was convicted in February 2020 of one count of first-degree rape for assaulting a 4-year-old girl in 2015 and was sentenced in May to 45 years in prison.
At sentencing Tuesday, defense attorney Rick Ribstein said his client has no prior criminal history but has medical issues, including traits of borderline personality disorder and a history of mental abuse.
Ribstein said Krueger understands she should have removed herself from a severe situation and didn’t, and she wished the abuse hadn’t happened.
The attorney asked Judge Greg Stoltenburg to consider less than 40 years in prison with a significant amount of suspended time, and placement in an alternative facility rather than prison, so Krueger can be rehabilitated.
Ribstein said Krueger is an average to moderate risk to reoffend. She has family support, has been undergoing counseling, and has been on house arrest for nearly two years with no issues. It’s been six years since the abuse happened, and it hasn’t happened since, the attorney added.
Stoltenburg said he believed that Krueger was manipulated to a certain extent by her husband, Dexter, and that he was more culpable in the abuse.
But the judge said he didn’t fully believe that Krueger was coerced.
Stoltenburg said he had never seen an offense like this before, and he was concerned about Krueger not taking responsibility for her disturbing actions.
“You did actively participate in the sexual abuse of your young child,” Stolenburg said.
The judge said Krueger voiced little remorse and showed no compassion for the victim, and she deflected responsibility by placing most of the blame on her husband. But some of the abuse occurred when Dexter was not present, Stoltenburg noted.
Stoltenburg then sentenced Krueger to 35 years in the state penitentiary, with credit for nearly two years in detention and on house arrest.
Krueger must pay $106.50 in court costs and $1,800 for her psychosexual evaluation, plus court-appointed attorney fees.
She must follow the rules and regulations of the Board of Pardons and Paroles and remain law abiding, and follow all sex offender registry laws.
Krueger was then remanded to the custody of the sheriff’s office for transport to the penitentiary.
Brookings County State’s Attorney Dan Nelson said the community is safer with Krueger off the street, thanks to the courage of the victim.
“Ms. Krueger was held accountable for her actions, and I remain hopeful the victims can continue on the path toward healing. The investigation and subsequent prosecution was entirely reliant on this brave child reporting the abuse that he had sustained,” Nelson said.
“We rarely find any positives in criminal cases of this nature, but the courage child victims display by reporting and confronting their abuser should be recognized, and this case is no exception to that. Ms. Krueger is now off the street, and the community is safer because of it.”
Contact Jill Fier at [email protected]