Midway Township man accused of decades-old child sexual abuse

An undercover phone call helped investigators build the case against Brian Keith Eliason.


DULUTH — A Midway Township man has been charged with multiple sex crimes after authorities said a victim came forward to report a long pattern of abuse starting more than three decades ago.

Brian Keith Eliason, 53, was arraigned Wednesday on six felony counts, a day after a warrant was issued for his arrest and he was taken into custody.

Brian Keith Eliason.jpg
Brian Keith Eliason

A criminal complaint states that the victim first reported the abuse to authorities in September 2021 and was able to provide significant corroborating details of various times she was inappropriately touched or raped by Eliason between the early 1990s and early 2000s.

A witness to one assault also provided an account confirming the circumstances, and St. Louis County Sheriff's Office investigators conducted a surreptitious phone call in which Eliason made incriminating statements, according to the charging document.

"This day has been haunting me my whole life," he allegedly told the victim on the recorded call.


The victim was approximately 4-15 years old at the time of the alleged assaults. She told investigators that the abuse occurred "nearly daily" at times, while other instances could be pinpointed based on certain events.

The complaint, for instance, alleges occasions when she said she was forcibly touched by Eliason around the time of a major snowstorm, a wedding and a memorable school field trip, allowing the St. Louis County Attorney's Office to bring individual charges based on those events.

The woman also reported being raped by Eliason after he invited her and a friend to watch him compete in a local dirt track race one summer. Eliason allegedly provided marijuana to the girls, who were approximately 10, and ended up driving them around into the early morning. He then stopped on a rural road in the Proctor area, taking the victim outside and raping her, according to the complaint.

Authorities said they subsequently spoke with the friend, who confirmed the incident, saying she was afraid and believed Eliason was engaging in appropriate behavior, though the victim did not want to talk about it at the time.

The sheriff's office last November arranged for the victim to place an undercover phone call to Eliason and confront him about the abuse.

"It started backfiring, and I started feeling bad," he allegedly told her, stating that she was the "only one" and that he "never touched" others.

Eliason is charged with four counts of first-degree criminal sexual conduct and one count each of second- and third-degree criminal sexual conduct. He could face a presumptive prison term in excess of 12 years if convicted of any of the top counts.

Records show Eliason has a 2013 felony conviction for terroristic threats after threatening to kill his then-wife. A handful of other offenses include possession of a controlled substance and domestic assault.


Judge David Johnson set bail at $100,000 without conditions, or $25,000 with intensive pretrial release, and ordered no contact with the victim. Eliason's next court appearance was scheduled for June 20.

To get help

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

National Sexual Assault Hotline:24/7 hotline: 800-656-4673

Center Against Sexual and Domestic Abuse (CASDA):serves Duluth, Superior and Ashland, Bayfield and Douglas counties; 24/7 hotline 800-649-2921; submit a help request at

Program for Aid to Victims of Sexual Assault (PAVSA):serves southern St. Louis County; 24/7 hotline 218-726-1931

Sexual Assault Program of Northern St. Louis County:serves northern St. Louis County; 24/7 hotline 800-300-3102

Family Pathways:serves Carlton and Pine counties; 24/7 hotline 800-338-7233

Support Within Reach:serves Aitkin and Itasca counties; hotline 866-747-5008

North Shore Horizons:serves Lake County; 24/7 hotline 218-834-5924

Violence Prevention Center:serves Cook County; 24/7 hotline 218-387-1237

Friends Against Abuse:serves Koochiching County; 24/7 hotline 888-344-3264

Fond du Lac Reservation:24/7 hotline 218-348-1817

Grand Portage Band of Lake Superior Chippewa:Grand Portage Human Services 218-475-2453

Bois Forte Tribal Government–Victim Services Program:emergency cell 218-248-0067

Tom Olsen has covered crime and courts for the Duluth News Tribune since 2013. He is a graduate of the University of Minnesota Duluth and a lifelong resident of the city. Readers can contact Olsen at 218-723-5333 or
What To Read Next
Get Local