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Editorial: Women heroines stand up in a case

Lindon Roy Knutson of Bemidji Thursday received a 312-month sentence plus conditional release for the remainder of his life.

It was a just and deserved sentence of 26 years for his criminal sexual assault of a 73-year-old woman in November at the Crow River Lutheran Church in rural Belgrade.

The Kandiyohi County District Court's sentence was a "double upward departure," or twice the presumptive sentence in the state sentencing guidelines.

As part of a plea agreement, Knutson had pleaded guilty to the criminal sexual conduct charge and first-degree aggravated robbery.

This sexual offender should never have been released in Wisconsin, but he was. He had served most of the past 30 years in prison or in mental institutions in Wisconsin for multiple sex crimes.

Knutson was and is still dangerous when released into society. If Knutson, now 62, lives long enough to serve out his sentence, he would likely be indefinitely committed to state sex offender program.

The heroines in this case are the women involved.

The 73-year-old woman, who was assaulted in her church, refused to let this criminal attacker keep her down. Following the assault and without her glasses, she was able go outside and flag down a passerby. Her prompt action prompted quick notification of law enforcement, which enabled quick apprehension of this criminal.

This woman was not done. She not only returned to her church the very next Sunday, but she was present in court Thursday to deliver her impact statement to the court.

Five sisters from western Wisconsin, who traveled three hours for every Knutson hearing, were in court Thursday again. These heroine sisters of the 17-year-old victim in the 1974 Wisconsin rape case attended every Knutson hearing in support of the 73-year-old lady and to advocate for putting this sex offender back in prison.

Kudos to all these women for their bravery and perseverance, which played a major role in helping local officials to bring Knutson to justice right here in Kandiyohi County.