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Jury trial set in BHS assault case: Suspect asks court for a change in venue

A May 7 jury trial was set for the 20-year-old Brainerd man accused of waiting in the girls' locker room for nearly an hour before attacking a Brainerd High School staff member.

Jared Allen-Tristen McCormack
Jared Allen-Tristen McCormack

A May 7 jury trial was set for the 20-year-old Brainerd man accused of waiting in the girls' locker room for nearly an hour before attacking a Brainerd High School staff member.

Jared Allen-Tristen McCormack, a registered sex offender, was arrested Feb. 11-about 10 weeks ago-following the alleged attack and has been in Crow Wing County Jail in Brainerd since.

McCormack is facing criminal charges of first-degree burglary-assault, attempted kidnapping and attempted fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct through using force-all felonies. The complaint was amended March 21 to add a gross misdemeanor charge of fifth-degree assault occurring within three years of a previous conviction.

The May jury trial was set during a court hearing Monday, April 22, in Crow Wing County District Court in Brainerd.

McCormack's attorney, Public Defender Emmett G. Wells, filed a motion asking for a change in venue. Wells' motion asks for the change in venue on the following grounds:

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• That a fair and impartial trial is not attainable in Crow Wing County.

• In the interest of justice.

• That prejudicial pretrial information regarding this matter and the defendant has rendered impossible to have a fair trial for McCormack.

According to court documents, the motion will be decided by Judge David Ten Eyck at 9 a.m. May 6-24 hours before the jury trial is scheduled to begin.

McCormack pleaded not guilty to the charges at a March 27 court hearing.

According to the criminal complaint, the victim, a 36-year-old woman who works at the high school, told Brainerd police she arrived at BHS at 4:40 a.m. Feb. 11 to work out with school equipment. About 6:20 a.m., after the victim was done working out, a man came up behind her in the locker room and placed his arm around her neck and mouth. He said nothing as the victim struggled to get away from him, pulling her backwards or trying to pull her down, the complaint stated. At one point, the suspect allegedly placed both his hands on her mouth.

Eventually, he ran out of the locker room, at which time she ran out of an exit door on the opposite side into the gymnasium to ask coaches and basketball players to call the police.

Police located McCormack afterward and he denied being at the school. He told police he knew he couldn't be there because he is a sex offender and was told he could not be on school property.

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Security video from the school shows McCormack entering the building. He is seen in various locations, then entering the girls' locker room about 5:25 a.m., the complaint stated. The woman is seen entering the locker room at 6:20 a.m., and at 6:43 a.m. exits in a frantic and hurried manner.

Outside of the alleged assault at BHS, McCormack faces two misdemeanor charges of possessing metal knuckles/switchblade and driving after revocation from an incident Jan. 25; and two felony counts of fifth-degree assault from an incident this past November in Brainerd.

McCormack was convicted of felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct Nov. 13, 2017, in Cass County District Court for having sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl.

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