Lutheran camp where abuse occurred ‘shocked,’ ‘saddened’ [UPDATED]Published 11:11am Thursday, July 25, 2013 Updated 11:26am Thursday, July 25, 2013
The Henning camp where a Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Deputy allegedly had sexual contact with several children issued a statement on its website regarding the charges against him.
“We are shocked and appalled by the charges against Mille Lacs Deputy Sheriff Aaron Heuer,” according to the statement from Lutheran Island Camp. “We are profoundly saddened that children at our camp were hurt by the actions of an adult in a trusted position.”
According to the camp’s website, Heuer, 29, of Isle, volunteered as a fishing guide at the camp from June 9-21. He is no longer affiliated with the camp, and the camp is fully cooperating with authorities during the ongoing investigation, according to the statement.
Heuer was charged Monday in Otter Tail County District Court with four felony counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and four felony counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct. His first court appearance was Tuesday. He remains in jail with bail set at $250,000 bond without conditions and $100,000 with conditions.
The maximum sentence for each of the first-degree charges is 30 years in prison, a $40,000 fine or both, and 25 years in prison, a $35,000 fine or both for the second-degree charges.
According to a news release from the Minnesota Department of Public Safety, the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension’s preliminary investigation identified incidents at two locations in June 2013.
The first incidents allegedly occurred when Heuer was volunteering as a fishing guide at Lutheran Island Camp, where he’s worked for the past few years, according to the criminal complaint. Heuer allegedly inappropriately touched the four male victims, ages 8-10, and instructed them to have sexual contact with him. While on the fishing trips, Heuer allegedly told the victims he would push them out of the boat if they didn’t submit to the sexual contact. He also allegedly showed victims pornographic videos on his cell phone.
Additional incidents allegedly occurred with two of the victims on a separate fishing trip, unrelated to the camp, in Aitkin County. Investigators believe Heuer knew all of the victims prior to the incidents.
Heuer was reportedly a volunteer fishing guide at the camp for the past three years. He also spent two years as a maintenance and grounds person. Prior to that, he was a camp counselor for three years until he was told he was too old to be a counselor, the report says.
Heuer was placed on administrative leave from the Mille Lacs County Sheriff’s Office. He’s been with the sheriff’s office there for six years.
BCA agents are conducting the investigation with the assistance of the Mille Lacs, Otter Tail and Aitkin county sheriff’s offices, and the Aitkin County Attorney’s Office.
The case is being prosecuted by the Otter Tail County Attorney’s Office.
Heuer’s next court appearance in Otter Tail County District Court is scheduled for Aug. 5.