A Northfield, Minn., man was charged with assault after he allegedly tried to strangle a woman and bite off part of a man's finger during a Rainbow Gathering in the Superior National Forest.
Spencer R. Fredrickson, 20, was charged Tuesday in State District Court with first-degree assault and fourth-degree assault on a peace officer. The maximum sentence for first-degree assault is 20 years and/or a $30,000 fine. Fredrickson's next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 13.
Fredrickson is being held in the Cook County Jail on $200,000 bail. Both assault victims were treated and released from the North Shore Health Hospital in Grand Marais, according to the Cook County Sheriff's Office.
According to the criminal complaint:
A woman told a Cook County sheriff's deputy she was assaulted at a Rainbow Gathering at Trout Lake Road on Saturday night. When the group attempted to pull Fredrickson off the woman, he allegedly bit off part of the finger of a man who goes by "Satellite." Fredrickson admitted to law enforcement that he had been under the influence of drugs and couldn't recall how the events unfolded, but denied that he caused any harm.
The incident began when the woman allegedly saw Fredrickson going through vehicles in the parking lot and saw him get into the vehicle where someone was collecting camping items from the vehicle, causing the person to scream the gathering's emergency safe word.
Fredrickson ran off into the woods, the complaint said. The woman told the deputy that she followed him into the woods and heard him crying. She tried to calm him down by offering him a hug and told him that whatever drugs he took would wear off, but Fredrickson started groping her. She said she told him that type of contact was unwanted.
Fredrickson then allegedly grabbed her by the throat and began to strangle her. She told authorities she couldn't yell for help because she couldn't breathe, but he let go of her throat long enough for her to scream for help. He then allegedly grabbed her bottom and top jaws by putting his fingers in her mouth and she said he started "pulling her face apart as hard as he could." She said she felt like he was trying to kill her.
A group of people attempted to pull Fredrickson off her and during the struggle, he bit off part of Satellite's finger, the complaint said. The woman said Fredrickson was showing "superhuman strength." The group put duct tape on Fredrickson to subdue him until law enforcement arrived.
A Cook County sheriff's deputy arrived on scene. Fredrickson was squeezing his hands together to cut off circulation. While the deputy was holding Fredrickson's hands to prevent that, Fredrickson began squeezing the deputy's hands and dug his fingernails through the deputy's gloves, breaking his skin.
Fredrickson admitted to law enforcement that he was using LSA, LSD and morning glory seeds and he was unclear about how the events of the night had unfolded. He told law enforcement that he doesn't know the woman and denied causing harm to anyone.
The Rainbow Family of Living Light, a loose-knit counterculture group formed in the 1970s, holds regional and national gatherings on public lands to “discuss political and environmental issues, pray for world peace, and celebrate life,” according to the U.S. Forest Service. The group held its annual national gathering near Lutsen in 1990.