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SE man sentenced to 13 years in prison

NEW ULM — A 66-year-old Sleepy Eye man who pleaded guilty to three second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges in three cases May 8, was sentenced to more than 13 years in prison and lifetime conditional release in Brown County District Court Monday.

Douglas VanOverbeke was sentenced to lifetime conditional release probation, pay restitution, amount to be determined, register as a predatory offender and credited with serving 257 days in jail.

VanOverbeke made the plea on an Alford basis, in which the accused claims innocence but doesn’t want to risk going to trial.

He was accused of having sexual contact with three teen and pre-teen girls as long as 33 years ago in three cases, Douglas Van Overbeke was charged Sept. 29, 2023 with seven felony criminal sexual conduct charges.

Van OverBeke was charged with two counts of second-degree criminal sexual conduct-under 16-significant relationship, sexual conduct under 14-actor more than 3 years old; two counts of 1st-degree criminal sexual conduct-victim under 13 and two counts sexual conduct victim under 16, significant relationship.

“My heart goes out to the victims in this case,” said Assistant Brown County Attorney Paul Gunderson.

“The Brown County Sheriff’s Office and Sleepy Eye Police did a really good job on these cases that go back a long time,” he added.

The mother of one of the victims read her daughter’s victim impact statement in court Monday.

“You had me completely terrified as a child. You threatened everybody in my life including my pet. You stalked me at work and at my friend’s houses. You even fought my boyfriend in our yard. It makes me sick. You are evil and deserve prison. I prayed every day for you to get caught. I just had to wait. This anger, embarrassment and shame is all on you. I’ve been in therapy since this came up,” read the victim impact statement.

Fifth Judicial District Assistant Public Defender Greg Handevidt said VanOverbeke agreed the plea agreement he made was justified, has regret and remorse for the damage he did.

“This has haunted me for a long time. There’s no way to right this wrong. This will be with me for the rest of my life. I ask my Lord God to forgive me,” said VanOverbeke.

“This is something that has been going on for decades. We’re here to clean up the mess,” said Judge Robert Docherty.

VanOverbeke’s most recent case involved inappropriately touching a girl at a family graduation party in May 2022 where he invited her to sit on his lap. She declined the offer, but he grabbed her arm, pulled her onto his lap, on top of his hands. He grabbed her butt over her clothes, when she tried to get away, according to court documents including a letter written by the victim that was sent to Brown County Investigator Andrew Konechne.

On Sept. 27, Sleepy Eye Police Investigator Shawn Bohnen became aware of sexual misconduct involving an adult victim who lived in Springfield from 1989 to 1994 who said she was abused throughout her childhood by VanOverbeke. The victim estimated she was sexually assaulted 260 times over 10 years while living in the same household as VanOverbeke.

He admitted to investigators Konechne and Bohnen that he sexually assaulted the victim many times over a number of years in Springfield, Marshall and Shreveport, La.

A third case involving VanOverbeke was described in a Sept. 27 forensic interview in which she was sleeping over at VanOverbeke’s house in Sleepy Eye when she was about age 5 in 2011. The victim said a few years later, she saw VanOverbeke sexually touch other family members late at night when they were sleeping in his living room.

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