Court news: Former Becker County man gets 163 months on felony sex charge

In separate case, man faces charges after 104 mph high-speed chase in Becker County

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DETROIT LAKES — Michael Dean Stearns, 65, currently in state prison at Faribault, has been sentenced in Becker County District Court for felony first-degree criminal sexual conduct.

A second felony charge of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and a felony charge of second-degree criminal sexual conduct were dropped in a plea agreement.

According to court records, on Jan. 16, 2020, a law enforcement investigator spoke to a woman about a past-action sexual assault. The woman said that in 1998 or 1999, she was best friends with a girl and would often stay at her house in rural Becker County. On several occasions Stearns was at the home and sexually touched the girl at night in her bed.

The victim noted that she was now reporting this crime because she saw on the news that Stearns had recently been sentenced for sexually abusing other individuals.

(In April of 2021, Stearns was sentenced on three felony sex counts involving three preteen girls in Clay County and was ordered to serve 216 months in prison at St. Cloud. His anticipated release date is July of 2031.)


On March 29, Becker County District Judge Michael Fritz sentenced Stearns to 163 months in prison at St. Cloud.

He was granted credit for three years and 83 days served, was fined $50, and his period of conditional release after prison was set at 99 years. He must register as a lifetime predatory offender.

Man faces charges for police chase, marijuana

Bobby James Newborn, 20, of East Grand Forks, Minn. has been charged in Becker County District Court with felony fifth-degree controlled substance crime and felony fleeing a peace officer in a motor vehicle.

According to court records, on March 28, a state trooper clocked him driving 78 mph in a 65 mph zone on Highway 10 in Becker County.

The trooper tried to pull him over, but Newborn began to accelerate, reaching speeds of 104 mph.

Because the chase was approaching Frazee, the trooper stopped the pursuit. A short time later, a Becker County sheriff’s officer saw the vehicle on Highway 10, and, along with numerous other law enforcement officers, pursued Newborn, whose vehicle eventually came to a stop in a ditch west of Detroit Lakes.

Newborn was wanted on a Polk County warrant and was arrested and taken to the Becker County Jail. During a search of the vehicle, law enforcement found 55.64 grams of marijuana.

On March 29, bail or bond was set at $30,000, without conditions, and bond was set at $15,000, or cash bail at $1,500 with standard conditions of release.


He posted a $15,000 bond the next day and was released, but a warrant was issued after he failed to make an April 10 court appearance. Bail Bonds Doctor, Inc. of Minneapolis was ordered to forfeit the $15,000 bond within 90 days.

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