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Pennock man gets two years in prison for molestation

WILLMAR -- Harvey Alford Carlson, 77, of Pennock, was sentenced Friday to 24 months in prison plus a five-year conditional release period on a second-degree criminal sexual conduct charge for molesting a girl when she was between the ages of 5 and 11.

Carlson was also ordered to register as a predatory offender and pay a $1,000 fine.

The pri-son sentence followed the sentencing guidelines that were in effect be-tween 1988 and 1994, when the abuse happened. Under the current sentencing guidelines, Carlson would have faced 90 months in prison and conditional release for at least 10 years.

Carlson was found guilty after a two-day court trial in May. He was given credit for 51 days already served in jail.

The victim in the case, now 26, was not at the sentencing hearing. Her victim impact statement, however, was read by prosecutor Connie Crowell.

The woman asked that Carlson not be sent to jail, but rather to a treatment facility. Her letter said Carlson did bad things, but is "a good person who was sick and needs help."

Crowell argued for prison time, noting that Carlson showed no remorse during the court trial, where multiple victims, including the 26-year-old and women now in their 50s, testified. The women said that Carlson sexually assaulted them when they 10 years of age or younger and while they were driving on country roads in the Pennock area.

"The bottom line is that he's a pedophile, he's a child molester," Crowell said.

Carlson's attorney, George Hulstrand Jr., asked for strict probation and counseling for Carlson, whom he said had expressed willingness to go to counseling. "He has many good things in his character," Hulstrand said.

Carlson read a letter to the court, apologizing to the 26-year-old woman and noting that "what I did was wrong, no doubt." He added that he hoped for forgiveness and wants to find a program to receive help.

Before handing down the sentence, Judge Michael J. Thompson noted he had no legal basis for a downward departure or lighter sentence for Carlson.

"This is tragic series of events that occurred a number of years ago," he said. "The fact that this happened a number of years ago doesn't excuse it."

Gretchen Schlosser

Gretchen Schlosser is the public safety reporter, and writes about agriculture occasionally, for the West Central Tribune. She's been with the Tribune since 2006 and has 17 years of experience working in news, media and communications. 

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