A Minnesota man spent 20 years as a fugitive. Feds caught him in Cancun last year. Now he's free.

The attempted bribery charge that kept Curtis Brovold in custody was dismissed Friday.

Curtis Brovold appears Dec. 20, 2022, in the Clay County Courthouse in Moorhead.
Michael Vosburg / The Forum

MOORHEAD, Minn. — A Minnesota man who was on the run for two decades after being accused of sexually abusing a child in Moorhead is now free — about a year after he was captured in Mexico.

Curtis Lee Brovold, 69, was released Monday, Jan. 9, from the Clay County Jail after prosecutors dismissed his final charge in the case: a felony count of attempted bribery. The development draws to a close a string of events that dragged on for 22 years.

The charge is related to a separate but now-dismissed case that alleged Brovold sexually assaulted a 14-year-old in July 2000. The girl told police she met Brovold online the same year, according to court documents.

The girl also claimed Brovold sent her a digital camera and she sent him nude images of herself, court records said.

Brovold, who was from Granite Falls, flew from an unknown location to Minneapolis, rented a pickup truck and then drove to Moorhead to meet the girl, prosecutors alleged. The two had sex at a motel before he was arrested, according to court documents.


Brovold posted a $40,000 bond after he appeared in Clay County District Court on a third-degree criminal sexual conduct charge. He failed to appear for a second hearing in September 2000.

That landed him on the FBI’s most wanted list for crimes against children. Brovold evaded capture until a year ago, when he was arrested Jan. 12 outside his home in Cancun, Mexico.

The criminal sexual conduct charge was ultimately dropped for undisclosed reasons, but not before prosecutors alleged Brovold attempted to bribe his accuser.

In text messages, he asked two people to “make efforts to track down the victim in the criminal sexual conduct case and offer her anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 in cash to not testify against him,” according to a criminal complaint.

Prosecutors dismissed the attempted bribery charge on Friday because Brovold did not go beyond the act of planning, prosecutor Pamela Foss said. He planned out the bribe and told the people how to do it, but he didn’t take the action to try to bribe her, Foss said.

Brovold did plead guilty to failure to appear and was sentenced in December effectively to jail time he'd already served. He tried to withdraw his plea, but a judge said he entered it willfully and knowingly.

April Baumgarten joined The Forum in February 2019 as an investigative reporter. She grew up on a ranch 10 miles southeast of Belfield, N.D., where her family raises Hereford cattle. She double majored in communications and history/political science at the University of Jamestown, N.D.
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