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Former Detroit Lakes group home worker from West Fargo gets 12 years for rape

Jallah Sallah Kollie

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. — A former worker at a Detroit Lakes group home has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for raping a woman resident with the mental capacity of a young child.

Jallah Sallah Kollie, 39, of 219 Second Ave. W., West Fargo, was sentenced Tuesday, Sept. 12, in Becker County District Court on felony counts of first- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct-victim mentally impaired.

"You are a predator of the worst kind," a grandmother of the victim told Kollie in a victim's impact statement. "You preyed on an innocent, vulnerable, beautiful woman with childlike innocence. You violated her body in the worst way. Hopefully, some justice will be found by putting a monster like you behind bars. It will save other women."

The grandmother said that after the rape, her granddaughter sat alone and terrified at the group home for 27 hours before the grandmother was notified and took her home where she felt safe. According to the investigation memorandum filed by the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the rape happened at a Lakes Home group home in Detroit Lakes.

Authorities responded at the group home on Sept. 13, 2016, after another employee reported walking in on Kollie and the victim, who was naked in the bathroom. According to the DHS report, the victim is a vulnerable adult who has a "lack of understanding of sexuality," but is somebody "who does not need assistance in personal hygiene care."

The report states that when the other employee saw blood on the victim's buttocks, they told Kollie to leave and began questioning the victim on what had happened. The victim described in graphic, childlike detail an assault that involved raping several parts of her body and that after she told him to "get out of here," Kollie told her to "shut up" and just "be touched."

Authorities say a sexual assault kit administered at the hospital points to him.

Throughout his jury trial Aug. 8 and on through his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, Kollie steadfastly denied having any sexual contact with the victim, who operates on the intellectual level of about a 6-year-old. The witness testified during the trial, as did the victim and Kollie. It took the jury about 2½ hours to convict him.

On Tuesday, he told Becker County District Judge Jay Carlson that he is not evil, never touched the woman, and is going to appeal his conviction.

Kollie's attorney, Simon George of Detroit Lakes, asked the judge for a lighter sentence than the state sentencing guideline, arguing, among other things, that Kollie has no prior offenses on his record. He asked the judge to stay execution of sentencing on the first count and sentence him on the second count, which would be about 50 months in prison.

Becker County Attorney Tammy Merkins strongly objected, saying that would essentially nullify the jury verdict on count 1. She pointed to the vulnerability of the victim, the caretaker role of the defendant, and that the assault violated the sanctity of the victim's home.

Judge Carlson agreed with Merkins. Noting that the first-degree felony charge of criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine, he sentenced Kollie to the exact amount of time recommended by state sentencing guideline — 144 months — with 96 months of that served in prison and 48 months on supervised release, as long as there are no disciplinary problems while he is in prison.

He was granted credit for 246 days served in jail and was fined $50 plus court fees, including the public defender fee. He was ordered to provide a DNA sample and to register as a predatory sexual offender when he is released from prison. He was not adjudicated on the second count. Because of the length of the sentence, no civil commitment proceedings were initiated by the state.