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Cass Lake man pleads innocent to criminal sexual conduct

BEMIDJI - Sheldon James White, 24, of Cass Lake, pleaded innocent Monday to two charges of criminal sexual conduct.

White pleaded innocent to serious felony second-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under 13 years old and the actor more than 36 months older than the victim, and felony fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct with a victim under 13 years old and the actor more than 36 moths older than the victim.

His next court date is June 30. The case is being heard by Beltrami County District Judge Paul Benshoof.

If convicted, White faces a maximum penalty of 25 years in prison and a $35,000 fine for the serious felony charge. The felony charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $20,000 fine.

According to the criminal complaint, statements were made at the Family Advocacy Center in October 2008 regarding two children, then aged 9 and 5.

Investigators with the Bemidji Police Department determined that White sexually assaulted the children in July 2007, according to the complaint.

The complaint alleges that White that night consumed alcohol and made sexual advances toward a woman, but when she refused him, he then went into the children's room.

There, he assaulted the older child and then assaulted the younger child, according to the complaint.

The older child ran and got his mother, who confronted White and slapped him several times before White fled the scene, according to the complaint.

In October 2008, White provided a statement to investigators in which he said he remembered the incident from July 2007, but could not recall the details because he had been drinking, according to the complaint.

White previously was convicted in 2007 in Cass County of third-degree criminal sexual conduct involving a child aged 13-15 with an actor at least two years older than the victim.