LINO LAKES, Minn. — A Minnesota Department of Corrections-Lino Lakes officer is on leave after an inmate filed a restraining order in June against him in Anoka County.
The inmate, Dane Michael Vandervoort, wrote in his application for the restraining order that guard Anthony Pietrzak threatened him, used foul language toward him and was demeaning. The restraining order also alleges that Pietrzak stole a pair of Vandervoort’s sunglasses.
“Anthony Pietrzak has harassed, threatened, and intimidated me, wrote lies, spread rumors, made vulgar and explicit gestures, he has bullied me on several occasions,” Vandervoort wrote in his application for the order. “I do not feel safe when he is around me.”
Vandervoort was convicted in Renville County District Court of three felony assault charges. He is expected to be released in March 2023, according to online Department of Corrections records.
Jeanine Putnam, associate general counsel for the Minnesota Department of Corrections, is listed as Pietrzak’s lawyer. No lawyer is listed for Vandervoort.
The original order, signed by Minnesota Tenth Judicial District Judge Thomas Fitzpatrick, bars Pietrzak from having direct or indirect contact with Vandervoort and to stay three blocks from Vandervoort’s place of residence. The order was later amended barring Pietrzak from getting within 500 feet of Vandervoort.
Putnam argued in an Aug. 24 letter to the court that the restraining order against Pietrzak was unduly restrictive in its application as it prevents Pietrzak from performing his duties as a corrections officer.
“Pursuant to the current order, (Corrections Officer) Pietrzak cannot report to work at (Minnesota Correctional Facility-Lino Lakes), where his attendance is needed to ensure the safety and security of inmates, staff, and the community,” Putnam wrote.
Putnam asked the court to amend the complaint to prohibit only unsupervised direct contact between Pietrzak and Vandervoort and to remove the provision barring Pietrzak from his place of employment.
The amended restraining order reduced the distance to 500 feet but still bars Pietrzak from direct or indirect contact with Vandervoort.
Pietrzak is currently on leave, according to Minnesota Department of Corrections Director of Communications and Community Engagement Nicholas Kimball.
According to Kimball, Pietrzak has a resolved complaint from March 2014, though he did not say if there was any disciplinary action associated with that complaint, and one active complaint which is pending.
A hearing regarding the restraining order is scheduled for Sept. 2.
According to the complaint filed against Vandervoort in the Renville County case, he had sent threatening text messages to a former girlfriend March 16, 2019, in Renville County, telling her to call people and tell them he was “taking everyone to hell tonight.”
Later that day he allegedly entered a house and brandished a handgun against his former girlfriend and her friend. He engaged in a struggle with a Fairfax police officer who responded to the home after the victim sent a text for help. Vandervoort confronted the officer and pointed a handgun at him from four to five feet away before the two struggled.