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Helicopter Pilot Gets 15 Years for Serial Sexual Abuse

The Star Tribune reports that Jeffrey Iverson Jr., a helicopter pilot from Cambridge, has been charged with a 15 year sentence.

Fox News reports that Iverson was accused of raping three boys from the ages of 13- 16 in late July. In a Dec. 17th article, the Star Tribune reports that Iverson raped four boys, and also dated or knew the mothers of the boys. Fox News reports that Iverson was accused of assalting a 10-year-old boy while giving him helicopter rides.

The Star Tribune reports that the first victim stepped forward in March, and eventually Iverson was charged with sexually abusing four boys.

Fox News reports that the mother of the second victim went to police after she heard about the first victim. According to the criminal complaint, the victim said sexual acts happened everytime he was with Iverson, which was over 100 times. The victim's mother stated that she had met Iverson six years ago and dated him for one year. She said that Iverson continued to spend time with her son, even after their relationship ended.

The Star Tribune reports that on Friday Iverson was charged with 15 years for sexual assault. One of the victims testified against Iverson, stating that Iverson had taken away his teenage years. "You could be the one to save a future child's life from being like mine," the victim told the judge.

The Star Tribune reports that Iverson's attornery, Joseph Tamburino, argued that Iverson should only receive 12 years, because he agreed to the plea. Tamburino also revealed that Iverson was sexually abused by an uncle as a child.

The Star Tribune reports that when asked to speak in the trial Iverson said, "Words can't express how sorry I am to the communities and the families. I'm terribly sorry for what I did."

17-year-old Accused of Iowa Slayings Pleads Not Guilty

The Associated Press reports that 17-year-old Michael Swanson from St. Louis Park who was charged with killing two convenience store clerks faces a second arraignment later this month. Swanson is charged with first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in two counties in northern Iowa. The shooting took place on Nov. 15.

The Star Tribune reports that Swanson is accused of stealing his mother's Jeep, along with a gun from the families cabin in northern Minnesota. Charges claim that Swanson walked into a convenience store in Algona, Iowa, and shot the clerk, Vicky Bowman-Hall, 47. Swanson was wearing a mask and proceeded to rob the store. Police say that less than an hour later Swanson robbed a convenience store in Humboldt and also killed 61-year-old Sheila Myers, the clerk.

The Star Tribune reports that Swanson pleaded not guilty to both the charges of first-degree murder and first-degree robbery in Kossuth County on Thursday. Because of Swanson's plea, his Dec. 20 arraignment will most likely be rescheduled. Swanson has not entered his pleas for the same charged in Humboldt County. His arraignment in Humboldt County is scheduled for Dec. 28. Swanson's attorney has not commented on the pleas.

The Associated Press reports that Swanson will be tried as an adult in both cases. He is currently in the Kossuth County Jail on a $1 million bond.

Twin Cities Gang Unit Officers Mishandling Evidence

The Pioneer Press reports that there has been speculation that the Metro Gang Strike Force officers have been mishandling evidence as far back as 2002. The Minneapolis police officials made no attempt to handle the problem.

The Pioneer Press reports that because these problems were disregarded and not disciplined by police they led to the unit's downfall in scandal. The Minnesota Public Safety Commissioner Michael Campion disbanded the unit last year. The Metro Gang Strike Force was cited for improprieties that included abuses of suspects' rights and improper seizure of evidence.

The Pioneer Press reports that documents from the case show that department officials were told that Metro Gang Strike Force officers were "committing perjury" and that "violations of due process (are) going on every day" within the unit.

Even with these allegations with documented proof, the Pioneer Press reports that it is doubtful that any former member of the unit will be held to account. Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said in September that a special criminal inquiry wasn't enough evidence to bring charges against anyone.

The Pioneer Press reports that despite various complaints to the board from officers working within or collaboration with the Metro Gang Strike Force, no actions were taken to discipline the unit.

"The city knew about these problems and did nothing to correct them," said Patrick Burns, the officer's lawyer. "As a result, they have destroyed the careers of those officers who were sent there to do a job, and nobody has been held to account for all of this."

Reporter Jenn Sterger Pressures NFL to Discipline Favre

The Associated Press reports that a spokesman from former New York Jet's hostess Jenn Sterger's said if the NFL disciplines Favre, she will not file a lawsuit. Sterger claims that Favre sent her innappropriate text messages and voicemails in 2008, while they were both employed by the New York Jets.

The New York Daily News reports that the Jets senior team manager of operations Aaron Degernes, helped Brett Favre connect with Sterger. Favre allegedly enlisted Degereness top help him obtain Sterger's phone number. If this is true, Degerness could emerge as an important figure in the case if Sterger files a lawsuit. Joseph Conway, Sterger's attorney, could call Degerness as a witness in an attempt to prove that Jets employees were aware of and facilitated Favre's behavior.

The New York Daily News also reports that Jets senior media relations manager Jared Winley has also been linked to the scandal. Deadspin posted a MySpace message that was allegedly sent by Favre to Sterger, "Jared Winley works in Pr for Jets he will either slip you my # of ask for yours."

The Associated Press reports that Phil Reese, Sterger's manager, said Thursday that she would like to see the league "implement a program" to prevent unwanted advances, like those that she claims Favre made on her. Reese said that Sterger wants the league to discipline Favre before he retires.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King reported that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell won't suspend Favre for violating the league's personal conduct policy. He also stated that the league may not even sanction him because the league's investigators have not been able to prove "beyond the shadow of doubt" that Favre sent the X-rated picture.

The New York Daily News reports NFL investigators may be running out of time because Favre told reporters last week that he would definitely retire at the end of the season. The league will not have the jurisdiction to discipline Favre if he retires before the investigation is complete.

The Associated Press reports Sterger's attorney said the NFL has finished its investigation and sent the findings to NFL Commissioner and the league lawyers for review. The NFL is not commenting on the current status of the investigation.

A Man Killed in Highway 13 Crash

Kare11 News reports that a car accident killed a Prior Lake man near Highway 13 and County Road 42. Timothy Lavelle, 69, was killed when his car struck a minivan. According to the State Patrol, Lavelle turned left onto County Road 42 when the accident occured. It is not known if the crash was caused by road conditions, but the roads were wet at the time.

KSTP reports that the weather is not to blame for the crash in Prior Lake. A 2006 Honda Element and 1996 Ford Windstar collided in the intersection. The crash killed the driver of the Ford. The driver of the Honda, Gregory Blakely, 55, received minor injuries from the crash. The passenger of the Honda, Cleopha Grassman, 69, sustained minor injuries.

Fox9 News reports that Sgt. Hanson says the southbound vehicle was going through the intersection on a red light, and the other vehicle was making a left turn on a possible a red arrow. The driver of the Honda was not buckled up.

Kare11 reported between the hours of five and nine on Tuesday morning the State Patrol counted 67 crashes across the state, 29 of them being in the metro.

Four Teenagers Charged in Powderhorn Sexual Assault Cases

Fox 9 News reports that four teenagers, ages ranging from 14-16 years old, are being accused of robbing and sexually assaulting a woman in front of her two children in Powderhorn Park last Wednesday. The 45-year-old woman was cross country skiing with 10-year-old son and 13-year old daughter, when they were held at gunpoint by four teen age boys.

KSTP reports that the petition says the teens pointed a gun and knocked down a 13-year-old boy, demanding what he had. The boy pulled out candy wrappers. Two of the teenagers proceeded to sexually assault the boy's mother in front of him and his 10-year-old sister. The petition says the teens moved on to attack two teenage girls in a garage nearby Powderhorn Park.

KSTP reports that prosecutors want all four teens to be charged as adults. The teens are currently being held in custody at the Hennepin County Juvenile Justice Center. According to the court document the teens are being charged in connection with a sexual assault, robbery, and other crimes.

Kare11 News reports that all four of the teens have been charged today, but the news station is not allowed access to these charges because of the suspect's ages. When the news station was first told about the incident, the information from the Hennepin County Attorney's Office was that one of the boys was 16 years old, making the criminal charges public. Currently it is under dispute whether that suspect is 16 or 15 years old.

Kare11 News reports that the Hennepin County Attorney did not say how the age of the oldest suspect was released, before verfying that the teenager was 16 years old. He said that the issue will be resolved quickly, and that he apologizes for releasing the suspect's name.

Fox9 News reports that the mother who was sexually assaulted has released a statement about the crime. The woman is offering her forgiveness to the boys, saying they never received the love and care they needed. The Powderhorn neighborhood is planning to gather on Wednesday to take back the park, and display the strength of their community. They hope to replace the recent violence with music, art, and laughter.
"Overall it's a very safe place," said a resident of the Powderhorn neighborhood, "its pretty unusual, and I think the community reaction shows how unusual this is."

Local Volunteers at Armful of Love

The Sun Sailor begins their story about Armful of Love by describing many traditions that families have during the holidays. This leads into the tradition of the McReaken family from Burnsville, in which they volunteer at the Dakota County Armful of Love program. The Sun Sailor then describes how the family started volunteering at Armful of Love and the different types of experiences they have had.

Using an introduction that describes one family's individual involvement in Armful of Love is compelling for this story because it brings it to a much more personal level. Describing the scene at Armful of Love, and they family's involvement engages the reader in the story.

The Sun Sailor reports that Armful of Love began 38 years ago as a small program to give school children mittens and hats during the holiday season. The program has grown to cover the entire Dakota County. Armful of Love connects underprivileged families with other families in the community.

For families to qualify they must live in Dakota County, have children, and meet a certain income requirement. They must then complete and interview process and become approved for the program. The families ask for two children's clothing items, two children's gift ideas, and one gift idea for themselves, according to the Sun Sailor.

The Sun Sailor reports that Armful of Love is different than Operation Christmas Child and Toys for Tots because there is a specific family shopping for another specific family in the community. Sponsors include individuals, families, churches, schools, youth groups, businesses, and civic organizations. They are matched with a family after they specify how many family members they want to sponsor, the preferred age and the preferred gender.

"It's a way to bring all of the communities in Dakota County together to sponsor these families," said Lorna McReaken, who plans to continue the family tradition of volunteering at Armful of Love every year, according to the Sun Sailor.

The Sun Sailor reports that Carla Mathwig, a volunteer at Armful of Love said, "Even if you can't give a lot, you can give something back to the community."

Horse Dies After Gun Shot Wound

The Waconia Patriot begins the story by replaying the scene the evening that the Russell family's horse was shot while standing in the family's pasture. The Waconia patriot uses the lead, 'Melissa Russell says its not unusual to hear gunfire around her farm, especially during hunting season.' followed by replaying the event where the family's horse was shot.

Melissa Russell said that the incident occurred around 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 2, when her daughter Sally was heading out to the barn to complete evening chores. As Sally made her way down to the barn, Dewey, one of the Russell family's horses was waiting at the gate. Russell said her daughter saw Dewey suddenly spin around twice, throwing his head up and down. Russell's daughter rushed to the horse's aid and saw the bullet hole in his shoulder, reported the Waconia Patriot.

According to the Waconia Patriot, after paying thousands of dollars in veterinary bills, the Russell family's forced to put Dewey to sleep, knowing that he would not be able to recover from the injury.

The Waconia Patriot reported that the sheriff office is investigating the issue. They believe that the horse was shot by a stray bullet and the incident was not a malicious act. Steve Walter, the local DNR conservation officer added that many deer hunters may have been sighting their shotguns that weekend, in preparation for the deer season opener. "You have to know what your backstop is," Walter said as a warning to hunters to prevent these incidents from happening in the future. "You have to know not just what you're shooting at, but where your bullet could end up. If you're shooting toward a hill or wooded area, you really shouldn't be unless you know what's behind it."

The Waconia Patriot reported that Russell said despite the incident, neither she nor her family is opposed to hunting. She hopes this incident can serve as a reminder to hunters to be careful and aware of their surroundings. "Its horrible about my son's horse," said Russell, "but the thing that emotionally scares me the most is my daughter was 50 feet away from this horse. That could have been her."

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