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Staples man pleads guilty to sex crime

WADENA -- A Staples man pleaded guilty to an amended second-degree sex crime in Wadena County District Court.

James Robert Scheller, 73, was accused of carrying on sexual relationships with young females during 2008, including inappropriate touching, watching the girls go to the bathroom, and having the girls straddle him and wear cowboy hats at his home near Staples, which he called "The Ranch."

In the original court file, the complaint referred to a then-13-year-old victim, and said there could be as many as four other potential victims.

A charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct was reduced to a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge as part of a plea agreement reached Oct. 6.

A stay of execution was placed on Scheller's sentence of 48-96 months, he was given credit for 13 months already served, and he was fined $3,000 plus surcharges and will receive probation. Scheller was also ordered not to have contact with the victim's family or any girls under 18. A second crime in Wadena County District Court was dismissed as part of the deal. Other court files have already been dropped. A court case in Todd County is still working its way through the courts there. (file 77-CR-0967)