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Defense questions charges ahead of former police officers trial

Scott Warzecha
Scott Warzecha(KFYR)
Published: Mar. 24, 2021 at 4:36 PM CDT
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - Two weeks before trial, a former Mandan officer and his defense attorney’s are arguing the wording of charges he is facing.

Scott Warzecha is charged with use of a minor in a sexual performance after police say he recorded a minor using a shower.

Warzecha’s attorneys questioned the court weather the law requires proof of the minors knowledge that she was being recorded.

“The definition of ‘sexual conduct’ requires minor’s knowledge of element,” stated the brief.

Proposed jury instructions by Warzecha’s attorney say the state must prove the minor knew that she was participating in the described conduct.

Morton County Assistant State’s Attorney Ladd Erickson said it is up to the court to decide how the statute is suppose to be read and interpreted.

“I don’t believe the statute reads the minor child has to know their being used in a sexual performance. That would not make sense to me under the law and how it is written,” said Erickson.

Judge Cynthia Feland took the question under advisement and is expected to release an opinion at a later time.

“If the court could say to us, that the state has to put on evidence that the victim knew they were being used in a sexual performance there’s a good reason to want to know that prior to trial,” said Erickson.

The trial is scheduled for April 8, however Warzecha’s attorney asked for a continuance.

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