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Minnesota man arraigned for breaking into Grand Forks apartment, attempted sexual assault

Christopher Douglas Johnson, 30, of Prior Lake, Minn., pleaded not guilty to felony burglary and misdemeanor attempted sexual assault on Wednesday, Feb. 17.

FSA Court gavel 11-13-18
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A Prior Lake, Minn., man has been accused of entering a Grand Forks apartment and attempting to sexually assault a woman.

Christopher Douglas Johnson, 30, on Wednesday, Feb. 17, pleaded not guilty to burglary and misdemeanor attempted sexual assault.

According to court documents, Johnson entered the apartment around 2:30 a.m. Jan. 10. In a preliminary hearing on Wednesday, Grand Forks Police Cpl. Brian Robbins said one of the women in the apartment claimed she was startled awake by the sound of the apartment door opening loudly, but soon went back to sleep. She told investigators that she awoke again to find a man in his underwear on top of her attempting to kiss her. She pushed him off her, and assuming he was a guest of one of her roommates, showed him to a futon to sleep, Robbins said.

She awoke a short time later to find him naked and urinating in her room. Robbins testified that she yelled at him to get out, at which time he entered into another woman's room and asked her to "nudge over." The woman's boyfriend then escorted Johnson out of the apartment.

Robbins said Johnson was not known to the victims, and police identified him because he left his wallet and identification at the apartment. When police contacted him that day, Johnson said he didn't remember any of the morning's events, and only remembered drinking at a local bar the night before.

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According to Johnson's attorney, Theodore Sandberg, he was highly intoxicated at the time of the incident, and argued that he did not enter the apartment with the intent to commit a crime, disqualifying him from the burglary charge. However, District Judge Jay Knudson decided that because Johnson attempted to commit sexual assault, there is sufficient evidence that there was intent for the case to proceed with the burglary charge.

If convicted of burglary, Johnson faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine. He faces an additional maximum penalty of 360 days in prison and a $3,000 fine if convicted of attempted sexual assault.

He is next scheduled to appear for a final dispositional conference on April 29.

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