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Published May 07, 2013, 09:37 AM

Bemidji sex offender faces another assault charge after raping 11-year-old a day after he bailed out of jail

A day after he bailed out of jail, where he was being held for failing to register as a predatory offender, authorities say Jeremy Bruce Cournoyer raped an 11-year-old in a Bemidji home.

By: Justin Glawe, Forum News Service

BEMIDJI — A day after he bailed out of jail, where he was being held for failing to register as a predatory offender, authorities say Jeremy Bruce Cournoyer raped an 11-year-old in a Bemidji home.

The 32-year-old appeared in Beltrami District Judge John Melbye’s court Monday, where he was sentenced to one year and two months in prison on the failure to register charge. But Cournoyer could face as many as 30 years in prison if convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, the count he was charged with Wednesday.

Cournoyer listed his address as being in the 1100 block of Augusta Drive Northeast, but the Beltrami County Sheriff’s Office determined he had actually been living with a woman in the 600 block of Fourth Street Northwest. Deputies executed a search warrant for the home and Cournoyer was booked for failing to register.

In the criminal complaint filed by the Beltrami County Attorney’s Office, Cournoyer is accused of sexually assaulting the 11-year-old victim April 19. The previous day, Cournoyer either worked with a bail bondsman or paid $2,000 and was released from the Beltrami County Jail.

An investigator with the sheriff’s office was called to the emergency room at Sanford Medical Center in Bemidji on April 30, the complaint stated. The alleged victim was there with a family member, seeking treatment for pain in the genital area, police said.

In the complaint, Cournoyer is charged with raping the child in the bathroom of the Augusta Drive home, where he had been staying on and off with the same woman he was found to be living with on Fourth Street. Police confirmed that the child and Cournoyer were alone at the Augusta Drive residence that morning, according to the complaint, after the child told authorities that two adults in the home left to buy cigarettes.

The complaint stated the child was preparing to cook French toast, when Cournoyer told the child “she was not going to have any.” Cournoyer then forced the child into the bathroom and locked the door, according to the complaint.

In an interview with staff at the Family Advocacy Center, the child reported that Cournoyer engaged in another sexual assault in the shower following the first alleged rape.

The woman with whom Cournoyer was living was also arrested May 1. She was booked on charges of endangering a child and possession of methamphetamine. She was released on her own recognizance Monday, according to an official at the jail.

The woman was told multiple times by police and Beltrami County Social Services that Cournoyer was an “untreated sex offender,” according to her criminal complaint. At some point between the reported sexual assault, Cournoyer and the woman went to Cass Lake and checked into a hotel. When law enforcement arrived, the complaint stated, Cournoyer fled. A pipe with what police say contained methamphetamine residue was found in the woman’s purse, according to documents. The Leech Lake and Red Lake tribal police departments worked with Beltrami County Sheriff Phil Hodapp’s office to bring the pair into custody, Hodapp said.

Cournoyer was convicted of attempted second-degree criminal sexual assault in 2004 and served 169 days in jail. That conviction stemmed from an incident where Cournoyer rubbed the upper abdomen of an 11-year-old girl under her shirt. He was also placed on 12 years probation, according to court documents. A sentence of 13 months and 15 days at the St. Cloud Correctional Facility was stayed for 12 years and six months.

Cournoyer’s bail was set at $250,000 for the latest charge, and he is scheduled to appear in court Monday.

Before being sentenced for failing to register, Cournoyer addressed the court.

“It’s one of those shame things, even though it was an attempt charge,” he said. “There’s still that perception of sex offenders. I’m trying to move on with my life.”

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