Man gets probation for criminal sexual misconduct

Published 9:26 pm Wednesday, May 9, 2018

An Albert Lea man charged with criminal sexual conduct was placed on probation for up to two years Wednesday in Freeborn County District Court.

Ryan Ervin Whelan

Ryan Ervin Whelan, 35, was sentenced after he pleaded guilty in January to fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct. Whelan was ordered to not possess or use alcohol or controlled substances, submit to random testing, attend a sex offender program, and enter and complete sex offender therapy/treatment group and follow other court requirements.

He was given credit for 229 days served.

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Whelan was given a stay of adjudication sentence, meaning once he completes probation, the case will be dismissed.

Court documents state Whelan was charged after law enforcement officers responded April 23, 2017, to a report of a missing woman. The woman is a vulnerable adult with a diminished mental capacity.

Once the victim returned home, she initially reported a man had offered to take her home from an Albert Lea bar, but instead of doing so had taken her back to his residence and raped her.

Whelan denied sexually assaulting her, stating they had consensual sexual contact.

The charge Whelan pleaded guilty to meant he admitted having non-consensual sexual contact with the victim.

Prior to sentencing, Assistant Freeborn County Attorney Abigail Lambert requested Whelan be placed on probation for up to six years. She said the sentence is important for the victim.

“These were very serious charges,” she said.

Defense lawyer Michael Ryan requested Whelan be placed on probation for one year, adding though the charges were initially serious felonies, fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct is only a gross misdemeanor.

He said Whelan has already served jail time in the file and said probationary requirements have been “appropriately crafted.”

Whelan said he agreed with Ryan and said he was not a threat to anybody.

In a victim impact statement read by Lambert, the victim said the incident resulted in her being injured, and she listed the difficulties she said she has faced.

Whelan was charged with felony kidnapping and two counts of third-degree criminal sexual conduct, but those charges were reduced and dismissed.

In issuing the sentence, Judge Ross Leuning said he had reservations about Lambert’s argument because the Attorney’s Office agreed to significantly reduce the charges and agreed to a stay of adjudication sentence.

Lambert said the decision to reduce the charges was made partially because the victim did not want to testify and knew Whelan would be on probation for an extended time.

About Sam Wilmes

Sam Wilmes covers crime, courts and government for the Albert Lea Tribune.

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