In testimony, woman says police officer grabbed her, kissed her
WILLMAR -- The 22-year-old Atwater woman accusing Paul Reed Schmidt of criminal sexual conduct testified Thursday that he grabbed both her breast and her genital area last October at the Atwater Police Department.
Schmidt, 35, of Atwater, is on trial for felony fo-urth-degree and gross misdemea-nor fifth-degree cr-iminal sexual conduct charges in Kandiyohi County District Court. He is accused of the conduct while he was working as an Atwater police officer.
The woman also testified that Schmidt showed her a pornographic image on the department's computer, that he told her twice to show him her breasts during the altercation.
During direct questioning, she said Schmidt had her pinned on her back on the floor when he grabbed her breast. "It was not a grope or a squeeze, it was a grab," she said. "There was no sorry, no 'oops', no nothing."
She said he let her get up from the floor and that when she was walking away, he grabbed her pulled her to him, kissed her and grabbed her genital area.
During cross-examination by Schmidt's attorney, Julius Nolen, the woman admitted that she may not have told law enforcement about the fact that she and Schmidt were practicing therapeutic holds on each other prior to the alleged assault. Therapeutic holds include the actions that officers and caretakers take to restrain individuals to prevent them from hurting themselves or others.
During the afternoon, Michael Lieberg, the Stearns County assistant county attorney who is serving as a special Kandiyohi County attorney to prosecute the case, played a recording of a phone call the woman made to Schmidt about the incident.
In the phone conversation, Schmidt is heard saying he felt bad about the incident, that he was sorry and that he would take back his actions if he could. One exchange includes her question, "How do you want to fix this?" His response, "How can I fix this? I can't take back what happened."
Lieberg also played an interview with Schmidt conducted by Detective Brad Redmond of the Kandiyohi County Sheriff's Office. During the interview Schmidt is heard saying he may have grabbed the woman's breast by accident, while he was reaching for her arm. Schmidt denied grabbing her genital area, but is heard saying that he was sorry and that the wrestling between himself and the woman "went too far."
During cross-examination, Redmond noted that the woman told him she and Schmidt were doing the therapeutic holds "just prior to the alleged incident" but only at a meeting she had with the detective and Lieberg last week.
However, when questioned by Lieberg, Redmond said the sexual contact information given by the woman was consistent at all three meetings he had with her.
Afternoon testimony also included Capt. David Wyffels of the Willmar Police Department, who testified that someone wiped out the Internet history of an Atwater Police Department computer that Schmidt and the woman used to view videos during the same evening. The action would effectively eliminate the information from the hard drive, Wyffels said. However, the computer was not password protected, so he could not determine who took the action at 7:52 p.m. Oct. 21, 2007. That is the same evening of the recorded phone call and Redmond's interview with Schmidt.
Atwater Police Chief Reed Schmidt, who is also Paul Schmidt's father, testified that department officers, and occasionally city staff members, have access to the computer. He also said Paul Schmidt was on duty at 7:52 p.m. Oct. 21, 2007.
A jury of four men and nine women was sworn in Wednesday afternoon. Presiding District Judge David L. Mennis indicated Thursday afternoon that he expected the jury to receive the case today. The jury includes one alternate, who will be excused before jury deliberations begin.