ST. PAUL -- When John Lind put his semen into a female co-worker’s coffee, it was akin to Vincent van Gogh presenting his severed ear to a woman - a plea for attention - Lind’s defense attorney told the court Friday.
“My client’s motives here, (which) we can agree were disgustingly misguided, were not malevolent,” attorney Mark Kelly said during Lind’s sentencing hearing.
Lind, 34, of Blaine was originally charged with fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct and fifth-degree attempted criminal sexual conduct after he was caught Aug. 26 - Lind’s 34th birthday - standing at his co-worker’s desk with both hands in front of him near his genitals, according to a criminal complaint.
In November, Ramsey County District Court Judge Patrick Diamond dismissed the original charges, saying the case did not meet the definition of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct, a gross misdemeanor that involves “nonconsensual sexual contact.” Sexual contact is defined as touching a victim’s intimate parts, but the definition does not mention sperm, semen or seminal fluid, Diamond ruled.
In January, the city of New Brighton charged Lind with a misdemeanor crime of engaging in lewd or indecent behavior.
Lind pleaded guilty and was sentenced Friday to 45 days in jail.
Incidentally, Friday was also the day Gov. Mark Dayton signed into law a bill that makes it a specific crime to put bodily fluids into something another person would eat or drink.
The victim, Patricia Maahs, who lobbied for the law, informed the court of the law’s passage when she was invited to speak during the sentencing hearing. She said she wanted to see Lind face the harshest sentence possible, in light of the new law.
“If this had happened later, Mr. Lind would be facing gross misdemeanor charges,” Maahs said.
After the hearing, Maahs said, “I wanted so bad to be able to come to court today and say ‘It’s law.’ ”
According to the criminal complaint, Maahs had suspected Lind was leaving bodily fluids in her workspace before he was caught.
Questioned by police, Lind admitted he put his semen on the woman’s desk and other items on four occasions and into her coffee twice within the past six months, the complaint said.
Lind apologized in court Friday, saying he’d let himself down “and everyone I know.”
Lind has been in therapy for several months, his attorney said. And despite his request for less or no jail time, he said he was satisfied with Diamond’s sentencing decision.
“John has a lot of remorse. Not just remorse that he’s been prosecuted but that he hurt someone he cared about,” Kelly said.