Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Minnesota sex abuse trial canceled for now

CROOKSTON -- The Minnesota trial of a Grand Forks man accused of sexually assaulting minors in cases on both sides of the Red River scheduled for this week has been canceled for now with no certain future trial date in sight.

CROOKSTON -- The Minnesota trial of a Grand Forks man accused of sexually assaulting minors in cases on both sides of the Red River scheduled for this week has been canceled for now with no certain future trial date in sight.

George Robert Lyons, 36, was scheduled to begin trial Monday on two counts of felony criminal sexual conduct -- one first-degree and one second-degree charge -- but for now the trial has been canceled, though the case remains open and no plea deal has been reached. The trial has yet to be rescheduled, according to Polk County Senior Court Clerk Lindsay Lessard.

Lyons entered not guilty pleas to both counts in February 2016.

The charges stem from accusations he sexually abused a person under 16 years of age in East Grand Forks in 2014, according to a criminal complaint.

He was charged in December 2015. The case has been continued several times.

ADVERTISEMENT

Judge Jeffrey Scott Remick has made three rulings on what types of evidence will be admitted in the trial in the last week, including allowing some statements made by his alleged victim in North Dakota .

Lyons’ attorney, Minneapolis defense lawyer Ryan Pacyga, told the Herald the cancellation came because the parties need to react to the rulings from Judge Remick.

Lyons has been accused of similar actions in an unrelated case in North Dakota. In June, Lyons was charged with four counts of gross sexual imposition, three Class AA felonies and one Class A felony, for allegedly drugging and sexually abusing a 13-year-old in Grand Forks County in 2009.

Local prosecutors asked the North Dakota Bureau of Criminal Investigations to re-examine the case, which had been reported to Grand Forks Social Services and the Red River Children’s Advocacy Center in 2010, in January, according to court documents. The North Dakota Attorney General’s Office is prosecuting the case.

Pacyga said because the accusations made against Lyons in North Dakota occurred prior to his alleged actions in Minnesota, the Grand Forks case should be resolved first.

Court documents show the Polk County Attorney’s Office has listed 135 witnesses in the case, which Pacyga said is the most he’s ever seen and more than the O.J. Simpson trial. He believes Polk County is employing a “blizzard tactic,” meaning they are forcing the defense to prepare for a high number of witnesses they don’t intend to call.

“The case is in no position to go forward until the prosecution is clear about who they intend to call as witnesses,” Pacyga said.

He estimates the Minnesota trial will be rescheduled for sometime in the spring of 2018.

ADVERTISEMENT

Polk County Attorney Greg Widseth did not respond to calls for comment.

Lyons’ next North Dakota court date, a final pretrial conference, is scheduled for Oct. 19 in Grand Forks.  

His brother, Matthew Lyons, was sentenced to life in prison for continued sexual abuse of a child in 2014 .

Related Topics: CRIME
What To Read Next
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.
Crisis pregnancy centers received almost $3 million in taxpayer funds in 2022. Soon, sharing only medically accurate information could be a prerequisite for funding.
The Grand Forks Blue Zones Project, which hopes to make Grand Forks not just a healthier city but a closer community, is hosting an event on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Empire Arts Center from 3-5 p.m.