Weather Forecast


New London man pleads to amended sex charge

WILLMAR -- James Benjamin Bonine, 46, of New London, pleaded guilty to an amended charge of fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct for performing a sex act on a sleeping man in July 2009.

As part of a plea agreement in Kandiyohi County District Court, the charge was reduced from third-degree and the plea was accepted as an Alford plea. Under an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt, but admits there is likely enough evidence for a conviction.

Bonine's case had been scheduled for a three-day jury trial starting to-day before District Ju-dge Kathryn N. Smith. He will be sentenced Feb. 7.

According to court documents, investigators used DNA evidence examined by the state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension to implicate Bonine for the sex act.

The charge was filed after Kandiyohi County sheriff's deputies were called around 2:50 a.m. July 3, 2009, to a sexual assault in Spicer. An adult male reported he had gone to a local bar, had a few drinks, attended an after-bar party at a neighbor's home and then went to his home and fell asleep on the couch. He said he woke up to find a man performing a sex act on him.

He said the man ran away when he yelled at him.

The victim was taken to Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, where a DNA sample was taken from his penis. A sample was also taken from the inside of his cheek. Both samples were sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension for analysis.

Investigators also learned from bar staff that Bonine was working on the night of July 2.

The alleged victim had told officers that the man who assaulted him was the bartender, who had also attended the after-bar party. He later picked Bonine out of a photo lineup.

On July 14, 2009, a DNA sample was obtained from Bonine -- by order of a search warrant -- and was taken with a swab on the inside of his cheek. That sample was also sent to the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension.

The analysis of the swabs concluded that the DNA in the penile swab was a combination of two people's DNA and that 99.9993 percent of the general population could be excluded as contributors to the DNA mixture.

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. 

(320) 214-4373