Brainerd man faces criminal sexual conduct charges involving 2 children

John Lee Backen

A 31-year-old Brainerd man is accused of sexually assaulting two girls when they were 11 or 12 years old at a residence in Brainerd.

John Lee Backen made his first court appearance Jan. 24 before Judge Kristine R. DeMay in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd. He was charged with eight counts of felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct involving two victims under the age of 13. The felony charges claim Backen, had a significant relationship with the victims, used his position of authority to commit the offenses on multiple occasions.

According to the probable cause court document filed against Backen, a woman came to the Brainerd Police Department the morning of Jan. 3 accusing him of criminal sexual conduct involving two minor children. The woman stated a minor girl, identified as Child 1 in the complaint, told her Backen had been touching her. Child 1 told her it happened a year ago and the sexual assault happened "a couple of times.โ€ Child 2 also told the woman Backen had touched her, too, but she did not elaborate as to what Backen had done to her, just that he had also touched her.

When confronted by the woman, Backen stated Child 1 โ€œ.. was a little girl and then the next thing he knew, she was a woman and he couldn't help himself,โ€ the complaint stated. During the conversation, the woman specifically asked Backen about the nature of the sexual assault of Child 1 and he stated he did do it and he apologized. Backen stated it happened only one time. The woman then asked Backen if he sexually assaulted Child 2 and he stated no, but admitted to grabbing her private parts. The woman asked Backen why he did this and he again stated they had โ€œjust turned from little girls into women seemingly overnight and he could not help himself.โ€

Child 1 and Child 2 were interviewed at the Family Advocacy Center. Child 1 stated during her interview that Backen had touched her on five or six occasions beginning more than a year ago, when she was 11 or 12 years old. Child 1 provided details regarding the various incidents of abuse, including descriptions which matched the one admission made by Backen to the woman. Child 1 stated she was afraid to report because Backen.


Child 2 reported Backen has touched her private parts, stating the first time he touched her also was when she was about 11 or 12 years old. She stated she now feels โ€œrelievedโ€ that she had disclosed this.

As of Monday Backen was in custody at the Crow Wing County Jail. Judge DeMay set unconditional bail at $150,000 or $100,000 with conditions to include no contact with the victims or anyone under age 18, cannot leave the state without written court approval, cannot use or possess any firearms or dangerous weapons, cannot use alcohol, drugs or any controlled substances and must make all future court appearances.

His next court hearing is scheduled at 1:30 p.m. Feb. 13.

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