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WF day care operator accused of choking child

WEST FARGO --Charges against a 40-year-old who runs an in-home day care allege she choked her boyfriend's preteen son, causing him to temporarily lose consciousness.

Kristina Lee Bjorem of West Fargo is charged in Cass County District Court with aggravated assault in connection with the May 13 incident, a felony charge filed late last month.

Bjorem made an initial appearance in court on the allegations Monday. Bail was set at $3,000 with a no-contact order for any children under age 12. She posted bail after the hearing and was released.

West Fargo police claim the boy, who is either 10 or 11 years old, told officers in an interview five days after the incident that Bjorem choked his neck with both hands, making him feel like he "didn't have a lung" before he blacked out for about five seconds, a report filed with charges alleges.

The boy told police he told Bjorem he couldn't breathe as she choked him, prompting her to respond, "I know," the report states.

Bjorem told police the alleged victim was upset about a game he had been playing with his brother before arriving home. She also claimed the boy she is accused of choking was kicking and hitting her.

Police say when asked if she choked him, Bjorem said she didn't think so but couldn't remember.

Bjorem did tell police she grabbed the boy's arm in a bedroom where other kids were sleeping.

In the report, police said Bjorem agreed to work on a plan provided by Cass County Social Services and to take a lie detector test regarding the allegations.

A phone number for Bjorem couldn't be found.

Police say in reports the boy's brother said he saw the alleged choking, telling officers Bjorem squeezed his brother's neck until it turned red and that the attack left marks.

The brother also told investigators that children in Bjorem's day care were in the living room during the purported choking.

Bjorem's daughter and two other children told officers they did not witness the incident.

Dave Roepke is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.