WARROAD, Minn. — A former Warroad police officer entered an Alford plea Monday, Sept. 16, for abusing his power as an officer so he could stalk, kidnap and sexually assault a teen repeatedly for two years.
Joshua Matthew Demmerly, 30, entered an Alford plea to the felony charges, which means he does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is enough evidence to find him guilty.
Demmerly told the victim, who was 16 years old when the abuse began, that the teen was under investigation for a felony crime and he “was the only thing standing between them and the Roseau County Sheriff’s Office,” according to a statement of probable cause. He reportedly told the teen he wouldn’t execute a search warrant "if the juvenile spent more time with him."
The victim allegedly tried to avoid Demmerly, but the police officer would repeatedly call and send the teen texts and even threatened suicide if his advances were refused. Demmerly forced the teen to share locations with him via the Find My Friends iPhone app, the statement said.
During an interview on April 1 with the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the victim described Demmerly’s house and said he had purchased alcohol for teens and told them they could not leave if they were drinking. The victim reportedly awoke naked at Demmerly’s home after a night of drinking and couldn’t remember what had happened. According to the charges, Demmerly sexually assaulted the teen more than 10 times.
Demmerly allegedly stopped the teen’s car and would make the victim get out and kiss him. The teen said Demmerly once turned on the squad car’s lights, turned off the camera and took the victim from a party with others and into the back of his patrol vehicle.
The abuse continued from 2017 until 2019 and the victim told investigators Demmerly was still in contact in late March. The teen had turned 18 when the abuse was reported to the BCA.
Demmerly was arrested on April 1, the same day the teen spoke with investigators. He’s been housed at the Roseau County jail since he was taken into custody. His bond was set at $500,000.
According to his Facebook page, Demmerly began working as a Warroad police officer in February 2016. The profile said he previously worked as a deputy in Roseau County.
Warroad Police Chief Wade Steinbring could not be reached by phone on Tuesday, Sept. 17, for comment. A felony conviction violates the state police standards of conduct.
Demmerly is scheduled for sentencing on Nov. 8. In total, Demmerly could spend up to 55 years in prison on all four charges. The kidnapping charge has a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, third-degree criminal sexual conduct is punishable by up to 15 years behind bars and each of the two stalking charges hold 10 year maximum penalties.