Former N.D. judge pleads not guiltyBISMARCK — A former North Dakota city police chief and state district judge pleaded not guilty Monday to 52 felony charges related to the alleged molestation and attempted rape of a teenage girl.
By: By Dale Wetzel, The Associated Press, The Jamestown Sun
BISMARCK — A former North Dakota city police chief and state district judge pleaded not guilty Monday to 52 felony charges related to the alleged molestation and attempted rape of a teenage girl.
Randall Hoffman made his pleas in South Central District Court in Carson, about 65 miles southwest of Bismarck. Carson is in Grant County, which does not have a jail. Hoffman is being held at the neighboring Mercer County jail in Stanton on $500,000 bond.
Judge Robert Wefald declined Monday to reduce Hoffman’s bond. Hoffman’s next court appearance is Dec. 13.
His attorney, Irvin Nodland, of Bismarck, said his client was innocent and intends to fight the charges.
Jim Vukelic, the Grant County prosecutor, said Hoffman underwent a mental evaluation at the state psychiatric hospital in Jamestown last week.
“It doesn’t sound like (Hoffman) would be amenable to a plea offer even if one were made,” Vukelic said Monday.
Hoffman, 55, is accused of continuous sexual abuse of a child, 50 counts of corruption or solicitation of a minor, and one count of attempted rape for what Vukelic said was a pattern of sexual abuse of the girl over several years.
The continuous sexual abuse charge is the most serious, carrying a maximum penalty of life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The girl was 12 or 13 years old when the alleged abuse began, and she is now 17, court filings indicate.
Hoffman was police chief in Elgin, about 90 miles southwest of Bismarck, for about five years before his arrest on Sept. 22. He was the only police officer in the community, which has about 700 people. Hoffman was put on leave after his arrest.
Hoffman also was a state district judge in Jamestown for almost five years before he resigned in April 1999, after a disciplinary complaint accused him of showing disrespect for the court system. Hoffman is no longer licensed to practice law. He was suspended from practicing twice after his resignation from his judgeship.