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NE Minn. couple plead guilty to terrorizing wife's former lover

GRAND MARAIS, Minn. -- A Grand Marais couple pleaded guilty Tuesday in Cook County District Court to charges stemming from an ugly incident a year ago in which the woman's former lover was assaulted and terrorized.

Kevin Thompson, 52, of 2648 E. Highway 61, pleaded guilty to felony charges of kidnapping, second-degree assault, terroristic threats, false imprisonment and criminal sexual conduct. His wife, Susan Thompson, 40, of the same address, pleaded guilty to charges of criminal sexual conduct, kidnapping and false imprisonment.

The guilty pleas stem from a plea-bargain agreement with Cook County Attorney Timothy Scannell under which Susan Thompson wouldn't have to spend time in prison.

The victim didn't return a call for a comment. The News Tribune does not print the names of victims of sexual crimes unless they agree to comment.

The Thompsons appeared separately in front of 6th Judicial District Judge Kenneth Sandvik, but under questioning from their attorneys told similar stories about what happened on the night of May 15, 2009.

Both testified that Kevin Thompson had learned of Susan's affair with another man about a week earlier, and that Kevin Thompson asked Susan to lure the victim to their residence.

Susan Thompson, under questioning by her attorney, Christopher Stocke of Duluth, said she was no longer claiming that her husband forced her to take part in the scheme.

"He asked you to get (the victim) to come to your residence?" Stocke asked.

"Yes," Susan Thompson said.

"To really scare him?"


"Maybe threaten him?"


Kevin Thompson, under questioning from his attorney, Richard Holmstrom of Duluth, testified that he surprised the victim in the basement of their home that night, that the two men struggled, and that Thompson overpowered the victim.

"You forced him to stay in the home for the next, I would imagine, six to eight hours?" Holmstrom asked.

"Yes," Kevin Thompson said.

"You don't have any doubt that he was terrorized?"

"That's correct."

Thompson also testified that he displayed a firearm, and that he forced the victim to have sexual contact with his wife.

Under terms of the plea agreement, Susan Thompson would be sentenced to 7½ years in prison -- but the prison term would be stayed. She would be sentenced to electronic monitoring for between one and two years, 10 years of probation, be required to pay $10,000 restitution and a $10,000 fine, and undergo sex offender evaluation.

Kevin Thompson would serve two years in the Northeast Regional Correction Center, serve an additional year of home-based detention and have the remainder of a 7½-year prison term stayed; undergo psychosexual evaluation; be on probation for 10 years; pay restitution of $10,000 and pay a fine of $20,000. He would have to register as a sex offender.

Sandvik added the stipulation that a court-appointed guardian be named to look after the interests of the Thompsons' son. However, the child would remain in his parents' care, because Susan wouldn't face any jail time.

That was central to the plea agreement, Holmstrom said.

"The main reason my client agreed to this is that (their child) would be able to be taken care of," he said. "If both of them were going to be incarcerated, this case would have gone to trial."

Both attorneys said the Thompsons have remained together. They did not divulge the son's age, but said he was a "nearly straight-A student" in local schools.

Scannell said the child's future was as important to the prosecution as it was to the defense.

"I think that the impact of the child influenced their decision and the state's decision as well," Scannell said. "I think it's an appropriate resolution, and I'm pleased that we're finally done with this case."

Sentencing was set for July 7.