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Ellsworth man pleads no contest to sexual assault

An Ellsworth man pled no contest to fourth-degree sexual assault early last week in Pierce County Circuit Court. 

Roger E. Bjork, 71, 432 S. Piety St., agreed to pay a $505 fine within 10 days of the ruling, ordered by Pierce County Circuit Court Judge Joseph Boles.

Bjork was charged last November stemming from an incident which occurred during Polka Fest, held the second weekend in July at the Pierce County Fairgrounds.

According to the criminal complaint:

The victim said she was working at a food stand during Polka Fest when she needed help refilling beverages and saw Bjork driving around in a golf cart, as he was a Polka Fest volunteer. The victim told Bjork about the request and he said sure, so he drove her to the truck where she could refill.

One of the first signs, she said, was as she was sliding the beverages across the truck the victim thought Bjork was staring at her chest area. On the way back, the victim said Bjork made unwanted comments, but she could not recall what those comments were.

Back at the food stand, Bjork handed the victim a case of water and, while doing so, he slipped his hand around a case of water and down the front of her shirt so he could touch her breasts. She was startled by the action and told him so. She said he tried the action again, but she moved away in time to prevent it from happening.

The victim said the next day she was working at the Polka Fest and tried avoiding Bjork at all costs. She later changed her mind and went up to him, asking for an apology. He told her he was sorry for his behavior and called it unprofessional. She accepted it and moved on.

About a week later, police interviewed Bjork. He told his story, which corroborated the victim’s. He said the touching wasn’t an accident and he didn’t have consent. Police asked why this happened and he said he was drinking alcohol and had some “liquid courage” behind him. He also told police most women would have liked what he had done. Police noted Bjork appeared to be forthcoming and truthful during his interview.

Polka Fest officials told police they also received another complaint from a different woman who alleged Bjork made some unwanted touching gestures to the woman. Police interviewed that woman, who said she wanted nothing done.

Court records show Bjork paid his fine Tuesday.

Jason Schulte

Jason Schulte is a reporter for the New Richmond News since February 2015. Prior to that he spent eight years at the Pierce County Herald in Ellsworth. His duties with the News will include covering news out of Hammond and Roberts along with action from St. Croix County court system. He lives in Roberts. 

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