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ND man accused of sexually assaulting teen in northwest Minnesota charged with perjury

George Lyons reacts after being sentenced to 40 years with 20 years suspended for gross sexual imposition in Grand Forks County District Court on Monday, July 2, 2018. Nick Nelson / Forum News Service

CROOKSTON, Minn.—An Emerado, N.D., man awaiting trial on charges of criminal sexual conduct in northwest Minnesota has been accused of lying before a judge in the case.

George Robert Lyons, 37, was charged Monday, Oct. 15, in Polk County District Court with perjury and could face five years in prison if convicted of the crime. The charge stems from a December 2015 case in which he was charged with two counts of criminal sexual conduct.

In the earlier case, Lyons stands accused of sexually assaulting a teenager who, at the time of the alleged acts, was less than 15 years old, according to court documents. The sexual assault allegedly happened at Lyons' former home in East Grand Forks, Minn., court documents said.

In one instance, the accuser said Lyons threatened to "make her life a living hell" when she initially refused to perform oral sex on him, court documents said.

On the first-degree criminal sexual conduct charge, he faces 30 years in prison if convicted. The second charge, which is in the second degree, carries a maximum punishment of 25 years in prison.

Charging documents detailing the perjury charge state Lyons was interviewed by police on Jan. 20, 2014, at the East Grand Forks Police Station. In a recorded statement, police told Lyons he was not under arrest, court documents said. However, during a Sept. 20, 2016, hearing for the sexual assault case, Lyons is charged with testifying under oath to the judge multiple times that he was told he was under arrest.

Lyons was sentenced July 2 in Grand Forks District Court to 20 years in prison after a jury found him guilty of gross sexual imposition. Prosecutors said he sexually assaulted a teenage girl between July 2009 and January 2010.

He is appealing that conviction through the North Dakota Supreme Court.

A trial for the Polk County sexual assault charges is set for May 15.

April Baumgarten

April Baumgarten joined the Grand Forks Herald May 19, 2015, and covers crime and education. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, where her family raises registered Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at Jamestown (N.D.) College, now known as University of Jamestown. During her time at the college, she worked as a reporter and editor-in-chief for the university's newspaper, The Collegian. Baumgarten previously worked for The Dickinson Press as a city government and energy reporter in 2011 before becoming the editor of the Hazen Star and Center Republican. She then returned to The Press as a news editor, where she helped lead an award-winning newsroom in recording the historical oil boom.

Have a story idea? Contact Baumgarten at 701-780-1248.

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