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Perham man charged with felony

A 28-year-old Perham man has been charged in Otter Tail County District Court with First Degree criminal sexual conduct with a child under the age of 13. On Dec. 28, Joshua John Solmon appeared in court on the felony charge and has been incarcerated in lieu of $50,000 bond.

Perham Police Officer Michael Christopherson and a child protection specialist with the Otter Tail County Human Services Department responded to a report that on Dec. 24 Solmon had engaged in sexual contact with the child.

According to Otter Tail County Court documents, Christopherson and the child protection specialist spoke with the child and determined there was probable criminal contact. The incident allegedly took place in a playroom in Solmon's South 1st Avenue residence where his wife provides child care for the alleged victim's family.

On Dec. 26 Solmon was interviewed by Officer Christopherson at the Perham Police Department and according to court records admitted to being alone with children in the playroom of his residence, but denied touching the alleged victim. Following the interview, Solmon was arrested on probable cause of criminal sexual conduct and transported to the Otter Tail County Detention facility.

Court documents indicate that in 1998, while living in the City of Ottertail, Solmon pleaded guilty to Second Degree criminal sexual conduct and was sentenced to serve 21 months in prison and also that in 2003 he pleaded guilty to failure to register as a sex offender and was sentenced to 15 months at the Northwest Correctional Center in Crookston.

Public notification is required when a level three sex offender is moving into a community. By statute, law enforcement is prevented from public notification regarding level one and two offenders. According to BCA information, there are no level three offenders in Otter Tail, Becker or Wadena Counties. Approximately 100 level three offenders live in other Minnesota communities.

Solmon's next court appearance is an omnibus hearing scheduled for Jan. 22 in Otter Tail County District Court. At an omnibus hearing attorneys may bring evidentiary or other pre-trial issues to the judge for a decision and a trial date is usually set at the same time.

The maximum sentence for First Degree criminal sexual conduct is 30 years in prison and/or a $40,000 fine.

The Otter Tail County Department of Human Services employs two Child Protection Investigators who become involved in reported incidents to determine if maltreatment has occurred. They also determine if victim services are needed and may recommend for those services. There are seven case management specialists who make family assessments usually in non-criminal situations.