Brainerd man accused of sexually assaulting multiple children
Ethan Lance Flory is charged with second-degree criminal sexual assault with the victim being younger than 14 and the perpetrator being greater than 36 months older.
BRAINERD — A 20-year-old Brainerd man is accused of sexually assaulting a 9-year-old boy in Crow Wing County.
Ethan Lance Flory was charged with second-degree criminal sexual assault with the victim being younger than 14 and the perpetrator being greater than 36 months older. The maximum sentence for the crime is 30 years in prison and a $40,000 fine.
According to court documents, on March 8 law enforcement was notified of a child at school displaying concerning behaviors, including pulling his pants and underwear down and telling school staff that he was going to urinate on the floor.
Staff had a brief conversation with the child at which point the child said "Ethan" had put his hands down the child's pants and demonstrated to staff what "Ethan" did by putting his own hand down his pants.
When law enforcement talked with the child’s mother, they learned Flory was a neighbor and she was friends with Flory’s mother. The mother said she and her child were at Flory’s residence and he spent time alone with the child on numerous occasions.
During a forensic interview with the child March 16, the child told the interviewer that "Ethan put his hands down my pants."
The child told interviewers the incident occurred in Flory's room when they were visiting the defendant's mother. The child said Flory would also, "tickle me," and this appeared to upset the child greatly as they stated it "feels like there's a monster watching me every night."
On March 17, Flory was interviewed and agreed to talk without an attorney present. During the interview, Flory admitted that "about a year and a half ago" the child and his mother were over at the house.
Flory said he and the child were playing in his room and while playing, "my hand accidentally went down (their) pants." Flory admitted that his hand touched the child inappropriately, "for about a minute."
After the interview, Flory was arrested and transported to the Crow Wing County Jail.
On March 8, the child’s mother also told investigators she was unaware of her child's disclosure to the school; however, she had become suspicious of Flory after his recent arrest for similar allegations involving another child.
Flory remains in custody at Crow Wing County Jail and is due back in Crow Wing County District Court April 25.
Previous criminal sexual conduct
According to court documents, Flory was charged Feb. 10, 2022, with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct — one count with the victim being younger than 13 and the perpetrator being greater than 36 months older, and one count with the victim being younger than 14 and the perpetrator being greater than 36 months older.
On Dec. 28, 2022, Flory pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree criminal sexual conduct with the victim being younger than 14 and the perpetrator being greater than 36 months older. The maximum sentence is 30 years and $40,000.
The criminal complaint states that on Feb. 4, 2022, law enforcement responded to a sexual assault call where a father received a text message from his oldest son telling him he needed to come home.
Upon arrival home, the son told his father that a younger child, a 6-year-old boy, said Flory made him pull down his pants at which time Flory tickled him through his underwear.
During an interview Feb. 8, 2022, the child said Flory "pulled down my pants and tickled me." As he was explaining this, he pointed to his groin area. Flory told the child not to tell his parents. The child told interviewers he then went home and told his older brother.
When asked where it happened, he said it happened in a "shack" at Flory’s house and described the shack as small and having a lot of junk in it. During the interview, the child told interviewers about a second incident in the shack when he was about 5 years old where Flory touched him through his underwear. Flory also told the child not to tell his parents.
Later on Feb. 8, 2022, law enforcement located Flory and placed him under arrest. During an interview, Flory was asked if he was aware of the reason for his arrest. He said he believed it had something to do with the event that occurred Feb. 4, 2022.
Flory said on that date he had returned home and saw the child looking somewhat frightened near his bus stop. Flory walked the child home because he looked scared.
He then said the child asked if he could come over to Flory's house. Flory said he was told to call his mother first and get permission to come over. He did contact his mother, and she gave him permission to come over, Flory stated.
Flory said he and the child watched a cartoon inside the residence and at one point went outside to the shack, which was referred to as a shop. While in the shack, Flory said he was texting with his girlfriend and a short time after that the child went back to his house.
Flory denied he pulled the child's pants down or that the child pulled his pants down. He denied touching the child’s private areas.
Flory told investigators the child had been in the shack with him one time during the summer of 2021 and denied the child ever pulled his pants down, that he pulled the child's pants down, or that he ever touched the child inappropriately.
Flory remains in custody at Crow Wing County Jail on separate charges and is due back in Crow Wing County District Court June 21 for sentencing on the 2022 criminal charges. His court date for the most recent incident is April 25.
TIM SPEIER, staff writer, can be reached on Twitter @timmy2thyme , call 218-855-5859 or email email@example.com .