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Jury selection continues in Paul Reed Schmidt trial

Update 12:15 p.m.

WILLMAR - Jury selection continues this afternoon in the trial of Paul Reed Schmidt, 35, of Atwater. The jury selection began Wednesday morning.

District Judge David L. Mennis has indicated to the jurors that the trial will take about three days in Kandiyohi County District Court once the jury is selected.

Schmidt faces felony fourth-degree and gross misdemeanor fifth-degree criminal sexual con-duct charges in Kandiyohi County District Court. He is accused of groping a female ride-along participant last October while he was working as an Atwater police officer.

The criminal complaint, filed last December, against Schmidt was amended in August to ele-vate one of the charges to felony level. His attorney, Julius Nolen, filed a motion to dismiss based on lack of evidence that Schmidt used force or coercion. Mennis denied that motion last week.

Michael Lieberg is a Stearns County assistant county attorney and is serving as a special Kandiyohi County attorney to prosecute the case.

Two gross misdemeanor charges were filed against Schmidt on Dec. 27, 2007. According to the complaint, the woman contacted the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office to report a sexual as-sault. The woman told a detective that she was a ride-along participant with Schmidt, who is a licensed peace officer and was on duty at the time.

During the early morning hours of Oct. 16, Schmidt took her to the Atwater Police Depart-ment, where she said they watched video clips on a city computer. The woman said when she got up to move away from Schmidt, he tackled and restrained her. She said he also made a sexual request of her. The allegations also state that Schmidt groped the woman's chest and genitals through her clothing, then pulled her to him and kissed her several times.

According to the complaint, Schmidt told the detective in a statement that some "wrestling" took place at the Police Department and that he grabbed the victim's breast "by accident." He did not remember grabbing her genital area.