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Published August 12, 2009, 12:16 AM

Charges dropped against hog farmer

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – The final three charges have been dropped against well-known Frazee, Minn., hog farmer Robert William Briard.

By: By Nathan Bowe, INFORUM

DETROIT LAKES, Minn. – The final three charges have been dropped against well-known Frazee, Minn., hog farmer Robert William Briard.

He was facing three gross misdemeanor counts of fifth-degree criminal sexual conduct for alleged nonconsensual sexual contact with a woman over a four- to five-year period in various places in Becker County, according to court records.

Briard, 62, was acquitted by a Becker County jury on Dec. 17, 2008 on first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges involving a girl under the age of 13. Those incidents allegedly occurred during the 1980s.

On June 18 a jury found him innocent of second-degree criminal sexual conduct for an incident involving a girl under the age of 13 that allegedly occurred in summer 2005.

The remaining three gross misdemeanor charges were dismissed by the Becker County Attorney’s office Friday.

“The victim had had enough,” said County Attorney Mike Fritz. “It was law enforcement and the victim not wanting to go through all that again.”

The county felt it tried its strongest case first, and had planned to use a conviction in that case to aid with prosecution of the remaining cases.

Briard’s attorney, Earl Gray, said the county was right to drop the remaining charges.

“I believe it was the right decision,” he said. “The family has gone through a lot over the past couple years – one day it will be over and they’ll be back to living normally.”

Briard’s wife, Virginia, still faces criminal charges in connection with his first case.

She has been charged with six felony counts of contempt of court.

She is accused of going on the run to avoid testifying against her husband, and was charged with one count for each day in December she failed to appear at the first criminal sexual conduct trial of Robert Briard.

Her trial has been set for Sept. 22 in Becker County District Court.

The Detroit Lakes (Minn.) Tribune and The Forum are both owned by Forum Communications Co.

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