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Grand jury to consider charges in Adams-Rothschadl case

A grand jury will be convened in Becker County on Oct. 31 to determine who, if anyone should be charged in the Sept. 9 assault incident involving Detroit Lakes Superintendent Mark Adams and Ogema-area farmer Mark Rothschadl.

Under state law, a grand jury can be convened to decide whether a person should be charged with a crime, according to Becker County Attorney Joe Evans.

The grand jury is made up of 16-23 people who meet in private in a courtroom in the courthouse to hear evidence presented by the county attorney's office.

A district judge instructs the grand jury and then leaves the room. Witnesses are called to testify before the body, then leave the courtroom, Evans said. Other attorneys are not allowed in during the proceedings.

The grand jury has the independence to charge either or both men involved in the incident, based on the evidence, Evans said.

Adams, whose significant other is Terri Anderson, Rothschadl's ex-wife, drove out to Rothschadl's farm Sept. 9 to meet with Rothschadl alone.

Adams said the intent was to discuss the new family situation like mature adults to minimize harm to the children.

Rothschadl said Adams came out to the farm looking for trouble, and insisting that he was going to be involved in raising the Rothschadl children, like it or not.

Rothschadl said the talk grew heated -- with him telling Adams to raise his own three children, left behind in Grand Rapids after a recent divorce -- and Adams took him by surprise with a punch to the face, fracturing an eye socket that later required surgery.

Adams said Rothschadl grew increasingly agitated during their talk and then attacked him without warning, punching his head, trying to kick him and throwing him against vehicles, then the two wrestled and "bounced all over," both throwing punches.

Adams, a former quarterback for Minnesota State University Moorhead, did not suffer any visible injuries and was back at work Sept. 11.

Rothschadl said his face swelled up and he went into the emergency room in Mahnomen the next day; from there he went to Fargo for surgery at MeritCare hospital. Relatives say he may have permanent eye damage.

Through a relative, Rothschadl declined to release his medical records to this newspaper, saying he was advised against it.

The grand jury will attempt to sort out the facts and then make a decision on whether anyone should be charged in the incident. Evans said there is no time limit on grand jury proceedings and he does not know how long to expect the process to take.