Forum News Service, Published March 25 2013
Former Minnesota corrections officer pleads guilty to having sex with inmateDULUTH, Minn. - A former Minnesota corrections officer charged with having sex with a female inmate pleaded guilty to two felonies today.
James Allen Bongaarts, 56, of Tower, pleaded guilty in Itasca County District Court to two counts of criminal sexual conduct in the third degree. He was charged in November with seven felonies for allegedly having sex several times over two months with a female inmate at the Minnesota Correctional Facility in Togo.
Under the terms of the negotiated plea, it is expected that Bongaarts will be sentenced to 65 months in prison. Sentencing is scheduled for May 13.
According to the complaint, the inmate told an investigator that she had sex or attempted sex with Bongaarts 10 times, and Bongaarts admitted to having sex or attempting sex several times with the inmate.
The complaint doesn’t indicate what triggered the investigation, only saying that a state investigator received information that an inmate was “sexually assaulted on multiple occasions by a guard.”
The Togo correctional facility, commonly called Thistledew, is an alternative incarceration facility that began in 1955 as a forestry work camp for young offenders. It continues with programs for children in trouble from age 13 to 17. In 2004, the facility began a six-month boot camp program for non-dangerous adult women offenders. Bongaarts was employed there for two years.