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Bail set at $100K for man who reported own crime

MONTEVIDEO -- Chippewa County has filed a charge of third-degree criminal sexual conduct against the Clara City man who allegedly self-reported his own crime with phone calls that also triggered a search for him by law enforcement officers.

Cheyenne Clay Johnson, 42, of Clara City, is charged with the felony count for allegedly assaulting a juvenile female at a residence in Clara City.

District Judge Paul Nelson ordered bail set at $100,000 unconditional and $50,000 with conditions during a hearing held late Wednesday afternoon, according to court records. The conditions include that Johnson have no contact with the alleged victim and that he stay away from the residence where the offense allegedly occurred. Johnson is currently in custody in the Chippewa County Jail.

The complaint alleges that Johnson called the Chippewa County Sheriff's Office around 5:20 a.m. Tuesday.

He reported he had committed a sexual assault against a 17-year-old girl. He told a dispatcher that he was headed on foot along Minnesota Highway 23.

Clara City police were joined by Chippewa County sheriff's deputies, and officers with the State Patrol and the Upper Sioux Community canine unit in a search for Johnson. The search focused first on cornfields north of Clara City, but subsequent calls by the defendant led officers to find him around 7:30 a.m. in a ditch along Highway 23 south of Clara City.

A state helicopter had also been called to assist in the search, but was turned around before it reached the site.

Two officers confronted the defendant and ordered him to drop a serrated knife he carried. They repeated the order several times before he dropped the knife, according to the complaint. He was taken into custody without incident.

Johnson's initial phone call had led a Clara City police officer to the alleged victim. She was transported to a hospital where she told the officer that she had been sexually assaulted by the defendant, according to the allegations in the complaint.

Conviction for third-degree criminal sexual conduct carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison and/or a $30,000 fine.

Tom Cherveny

Tom Cherveny is a regional and outdoor reporter with the West Central Tribune in Willmar, MN.

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