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Northern Minnesota police officer accused of kidnapping, stalking, sexually assaulting teenager

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WARROAD, Minn. — A Warroad police officer used his position to take advantage of a teenager for several years, including sexually assaulting the alleged victim more than 10 times, according to a court document from the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

Joshua Matthew Demmerly, 29, was arrested Monday and appeared in court Wednesday on charges of kidnapping, third-degree criminal sexual conduct and stalking.

He has been a police officer in Warroad since February 2016, according to his Facebook page, and previously was a deputy in Roseau County. A message left for the Warroad Police Chief and the Roseau County Sheriff was not returned by press time, and Demmerly’s current employment status is unknown.

A statement of probable cause stated Demmerly sexually assaulted a teenager between the ages of 16 and 17 more than 10 times while he was a police officer from 2017 to 2019. The court document does not indicate the teen’s gender.

Demmerly told the teen they were under investigation by the Roseau County Sheriff’s Office for a felony, according to a court document. He allegedly told the teen he would not execute a search warrant on the teen’s phone “if the juvenile spent more time with him.”

When the teen tried to avoid Demmerly, the court document said he would call the teen’s phone repeatedly and send texts “saying that he loved the victim.” Demmerly recently sent the alleged victim a photo of himself with a gun to his head and threatened suicide if the teen refused to spend time with him, the court document said.

The teen blocked Demmerly’s cell phone number, but the court document said he called the teen from a different number. He allegedly made the teen “by agreement” activate location services and constantly share their location via the Find My Friends iPhone app.

The alleged victim told investigators Demmerly provided alcohol to them and other teens at his home and “told them they had to spend the night since they had been drinking.” The alleged victim reported waking up naked at Demmerly’s house after a night of drinking with no memories of the previous evening, according to the statement.

Demmerly would perform traffic stops on the teen and force the teen to step out of the car so he could kiss the teen, the court document said. Demmerly once activated the emergency lights of his squad car while on duty, turned off the camera and took the teen into custody in front of witnesses, the statement said. He drove the teen away, according to the statement.

The alleged victim is now an adult and was interviewed by BCA agents April 1. The court document said Demmerly attempted to kiss the alleged victim as recently as late March and he “continues to contact the victim expressing his love for the victim and the hopes of having a relationship with the victim.”

The maximum punishment for the sexual misconduct charge is 15 years in prison; the stalking charge holds up to a 10-year penalty, and kidnapping holds a three-year maximum.

Demmerly is scheduled to enter a plea April 23.